Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vitamins with minerals may lower risk of breast cancer death

NEW YORK, NY -- Oct. 10, 2013 -- Another analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative shows that multivitamins that include minerals were linked to a 30 percent lower chance of dying of breast cancer in women who were already taking them at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis.

The Women’s Health Initiative began in 1993 and enrolled more than 161,000 women ages 50 to 79 in a mix of clinical trials and observational studies.

As reported in MedPage Today, this current analysis involved 8,048 women who had participated in both observational and clinical studies of the WHI. Observational studies, such as this one, follow a group of people and collect data about them over time and then watch what happens to them. Such studies are useful for sifting out risk factors of disease inferred from lifestyle and behaviors. Often such factors may not be directly causing the observed outcome.

In this case, an earlier observational analysis of data taken from the WHI study showed no link between multivitamins and risk of breast cancer, or other diseases or overall mortality. The difference in this analysis was 2,239 participants who were taking multivitamins with minerals at the start of the study and were continuing to take them at the visit closest to breast cancer diagnosis.

When the researchers compared their breast cancer outcomes with 3,358 women who consistently did not use multivitamins they found that the multivitamin with minerals group had a 30 percent lower risk of dying from breast cancer compared to the nonusers.

The researchers cautioned that the study did not take into account differences in cancer treatment among the women and the data does not allow any conclusions about whether the vitamins affect treatment in some way, or offered a protective benefit of some kind.

Source: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

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