Vitamin D deficiency in cancer patients

Hi everyone,

A month ago I had a bone density scan, my left hip and lower back were xrayed. Then last week I had the results. I have thinning of the bones and have been put on calcium tablets and vitamin D deficiency tablets.

I decided to search the net about this just to see if there was any conecction with this and the cancer/chemo. Its well worth a read, but I wondered if anyone on here could tell us more about it.

I think I had only just started to go through the menopause at the time of diagnosis. I had my surgery 2 years ago and wondered if if this is quite quick to be worrying about osteoperosis.

I do know I must ask my GP but its something on my mind and I can`t get an appointment to see the GP right away.

It appears that because chemo thins the skin - this also prevents us from absorbing vitamin D and we are actually told to keep out of direct sun unless we cover up or use block out lotions. Hence the defiencies in vitamin D.

Has anyone else been tested? is anyone else taking perscription vitamin D tablets and/or calcium??

Look forward to hearing from you

love Tina xx

12 Replies

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  • I am sorry Tina I can't be much help..but an interesting question just the same..it is a bit concerning that this as happened...and I am sorry...but thank you for sharing this...something else perhaps that we should be aware of love and best wishes x G x

  • Here is some info from the US NIH cancer site: cancer.gov/cancertopics/fac...

    It has been suspected for a long time that there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and cancer. Many women with OC and other cancers find they are vitamin D deficient. But it is a complex question. More research is needed.

    Cx

  • Hi Tina

    This is going to be a slightly complex answer- I am also coming at it from a slightly differnt angle so may be a red herring- bear with me!!!

    Yes I am taking Vitamin D/ Calcium on prescription, this was prescribed after a CFS/ME diagnosis this summer, for which it is often a feature.

    I quizzed the consultant on why I had this deficency as I was puzzled because I spend a fair amount of time outside, and also eat a fish rich diet- was it an 'intake' or an 'up take' problem, also, if or what the connections were between the CFS/ ME, Ovarian cancer and treatments and this vitaminD/ calcium deficency. His answer was vague, in conclusion he didn't seem to really know.

    speaking to another health profesional just after I had this information, She was forthcomming that I was the 3rd ( out of 3) patient that had reported a vitamin D deficency that day!

    It has been a particularly bad year for sunshine.... so one would expect deficency to be more prevelent... but is it underdiagnosed?

    I had a bone densosity scan two years ago, shortly after finishing treatment, because I raised the concern of osteoperosis as a long term effect of treatment- this estabished a baseline and has reassured me that it is being kept an eye on.

    I hope that your GP will be able to provide you some reassance

    take care

    LIN

  • Hi Lin,

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia over 15 years ago , then diagnosed with CFS 6 years later. I have the muscle problems under control (well, most of the time) but the fatigue has been crucifying.

    One oncologist even told me that because the pacitlitaxol could only offer a 3% better prognosis she strongly adviced against it, she said it would make my chronic disease much, much worse, My only answer was "But, it also may not", at that time my mind was set in the frame that this disease could not be any worse for me!!!! Only you Lin, will know what I mean.

    I did have the full treatment even though it was increasing the neuropothy in my fingers and toes. I stuck with it for 5 sessions out of the 6 and was told the 6th session missed would make little difference to my cancer prognosis. I hope they are right, but I did need to go with their advice as knowing what was best for me.

    I have run support groups and help lines for more than a decade but sadly hadto end when I was cancer diagnosed. The last form of duty I did was arrange a Christmas bash for the groups in 2010. Sadly I wasn`t able to celebrate with them because the day of the Christmas lunch I was in the hospital having my first chemo.

    Lin, if you`d like to get in touch with me by private message and we can shat about the affects our cancer has on our ME/CFS. You are the first person I have found who suffers from both.

    Hope today is a better day for you my lovely xxx Tina

  • There is a piece on vitamin D in the new Ovacome magazine. There seems to have been a link made between vitamin D deficiency and ovarian cancer and if you google it you will probably come across a few papers.

    I take a vitamin D supplement.

    Monique x

  • Hello All. I also take a high vitamin D supplement, although I have never been tested for deficiency. I take a calcium supplement too since I am not doing HRT following my surgery; to keep bones healthy. If anyone is interested here is a great link about the advantages of vitamin D

    canceractive.com/cancer-act...

    Keep well

    Sue

  • Urgh this worries me as osteoporosis runs in the family.

    There's a page on the NHS site which may be useful nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-... although interesting that cancer patients aren't mentioned as an at risk group, let alone OC sufferers... A forgotten flippin' audience again...

    I'd always look to food sources if poss, supplements get a bad rap as only actually providing a fraction of what they promise usually. My bottles of multivitamin etc. always sit gathering dust on the shelf.

  • In the DR.Joanna Budwig diet she recommends lots of sunshine obviously plays a part in cancer and the healing process,I refused all chemo and have been on this diet plus frozen grated lemon every day you eat it pips skin pith the whole lot.for sunshine I go on a sunbed once a week.I saw my Doctor yesterday and she can feel NO tumors in my tummy that I could feel when rediagnosed with OV again. I have been doing it for two months plus only organic fruit and veg no meat except organic chicken.Seems to be working and my skin and hair nails eyes much brighter. there are alternatives out there.its not only chemo. that can cut it back to size love to all Jenny xxx I did have chemo first time round plus operation but only in remission for 12 months so chemo. for the rest of my life was not an option for me my decission.

  • I have taken calcium with vits D & K since my early 30's because I dislike milk so I do not have bone or vitamine deficiency problems.

  • Hi Tina , i have had aching bones since having my chemo , i got it from Nov 2011- to April 2012 , was at docs yesterday and they have now put me on Calcium with Vits D & K to see if this will make any difference , so keeping fingers crossed x

  • Wow ladies, some amazing feedback here and thank you very much for shatting to me about this.

    I have done a little more reading and it does appear that 76% of the average population in the Uk have a vit D deficiency, especially those who live in the north.

    People with dark or darker skin tones have a higher chance the darker the skin to have a vir D deficiency. Strangly I thought it would be the reverse but this apparaently is not the case. Those with very fair skin onbsorb vit D easier than those with tanned skin.

    We don`t absorb vit D from food - nope ladies not even fresh produce and healthy eating! The only source of food that has vit D is mushrooms and we couldn`t p[ossibly eat enough to make a difference.

    So the only way is ditch the high factor sun lotions and strip off for about 15 mins each day we have sunshine. Impossible for those who work in doors and with our recent summer weather, it often flipping rains on our day off.

    I guess the only answer is to take the supplements.

    Lots of love from Tina xxxx

  • Hi, Tina.

    I am on ad-cal3 calcium and vitamin D supplements prescribed by my doctor because my vitamin D levels were low and I have a strong family history of osteoporosis. I asked to be tested following diagnosis, having read that women with ovarian cancer were very likely to be low in vitamin D, though it is not clear whether or not this is a causal link.

    Barbara

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