A recent study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases reveals a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis in breast cancer patients.
Researchers in Doha, Qatar, conducted an observational cohort study based on the National Cancer Disease Registry of the Al-Amal Hospital. The authors contacted 635 breast cancer patients aged 18-65 years to assess socio-demographic information, menopause status, medical history, life-style habits, dietary intake, bone mineral density, and vitamin D levels.
The researchers found that 31.8% of the participants had osteopenia/osteoporosis. Osteopenia and osteoporosis were significantly higher in post-menopausal women than in pre-menopausal women. Similarly, vitamin D deficiency was more prevalent among post-menopausal women. Overall, only 20.2% of the participants had optimum vitamin D levels (> 30 ng/ml). Daily physical activity was low among women with vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis. The authors conclude,
“Despite inconsistencies in the literature, the present study has demonstrated a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis in breast cancer, especially among post-menopausal women. This is possibly because estrogen deficiency appears to reduce vitamin D activation and vitamin D receptor expression, suggesting that older and post-menopausal women may be at increased risk.”
The researchers discuss the need for educating women with breast cancer about the importance of lifestyle and dietary changes to reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis.