July 15, 2015

Director's Letter 


If I'd only known then what I know now....do you ever have that thought? I am frequently asked 'What would you do if you had breast cancer now?' Well, I called my treatment barbaric then, and I still call the standard treatments barbaric. It took me a long time to learn enough about vitamin D and other nutrients to truly know and believe how powerful they can be not only in prevention but in treatment. At the time, I felt I had no other choice than the mastectomy, radiation and chemo - and, I totally emphasize with those of you who now feel the same way. I have mentioned to many that having cancer is a major 'test of values' experience. You do what you feel you have to do. In my treatment cycle, I stopped both the radiation and chemo earlier than prescribed because I felt they were a violent assault on my body-it was a real verification of how strongly I believe in peace-in all areas of my life. It was also an affirmation that "I" was in charge, not my physician.


What would I do now? I have the privilege now of knowing many experts in the field of cancer and nutrition. They would all be my first line to help me decide how to respond. I still honor the scientific approach and disciplines but am considerably more knowledgeable about how to interpret the science. I think that surgery is a viable option (the technology is quite advanced) and useful in reducing a tumor burden (if a tumor is part of the problem). From there, I would work even harder to further enhance my own body's ability to heal itself!


I will continue my passion of education and involvement with the information that can allow us all to make truly informed decisions! The lack of adequate information for us at the time of need is a major problem and leaves us with that terrible feeling of totally being out of control, being caught in the hands of another. We need to know, to have choices!


My call to ACTION for everyone


Please take a look at the California Legislature's resolution to proclaim October 2015 as "Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month". There is NOTHING in the resolution about prevention! There is only the 'early detection' of mammography. Please write to Senator Vidak,  let him know that PRIMARY PREVENTION needs to be addressed NOW! Specifically, reducing the risk of the occurrence of breast cancer by 50% or more simply by having a vitamin D level in the >40 ng/ml range! Also write to Assemblyman Marc Steinhorth.


Getting the message out about primary prevention is still a big task that takes our combined efforts.Keep learning, stay involved, we are influencing the world for better health.


Actively yours,


Carole Baggerly 

Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

Vitamin D and Breast Cancer 


Today we are presenting an interview with JoEllen Welsh, PhD, a research scientist on GrassrootsHealth's panel. Welsh recently received a $1.76M grant from the NIH to explore the link between vitamin D and breast cancer treatment.  


About Welsh


Dr. JoEllen Welsh JoEllen Welsh is an Empire Innovations Professor at UAlbany's Cancer Research Center where she examines the role of Vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. In 1994, Welsh was named a senior scientist at the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., focusing her research efforts on vitamin D and breast cancer. Prior to joining UAlbany, she served as a professor in the department of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame from 1998-2008. She has utilized transgenic and knockout mouse models to examine the role of the vitamin D pathway in normal mammary gland development and susceptibility to cancer development. Her research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the USDA CREES program, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the U.S. Army Breast Cancer Research Program.


Listen to Interview

Click to listen



We encourage you to listen to this 10-minute interview where Welsh describes her past and future research. Highlights from the interview:

  • Vitamin D has direct effects on breast cancer cells.
  • Past studies have shown that vitamin D is just as successful as Tamoxifen in treating hormone-dependent breast cancers.
  • Welsh's new study will target triple-negative breast cancers, ones that are not hormone-dependent (cells without estrogen receptors). Today, there is no successful treatment for these types of cancers.
  • Vitamin D receptors exist in almost all cells in the body.
  • Vitamin D receptors control genes that are expressed in that cell.
  • With this new study Welsh hopes to see how effective vitamin D is in targeting these triple-negative breast cancers, and how vitamin D works in combination with other natural treatments.

More Detailed information


If the interview was just enough to get you interested in learning more, please watch her webinar presentation (video of the week) or read some of her published research papers:

Video of the Week 


Vitamin D Stops Breast Cancer Cell Growth

JoEllen Welsh, PhD

Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Albany State University of New York

GenNYsys Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics

April 3, 2013


Watch now 


In this presentation from 2013, Welsh explains how vitamin D receptors exist within cells, signifying the necessity of vitamin D for their health (cells want to be healthy!).

  1. Vitamin D protects breast cells from DNA damage, both normal and cancerous cells.
  2. Vitamin D regulates immune responses in breast cells.
  3. Vitamin D re-programs cellular metabolism.

In normal cells, vitamin D maintains differentiation and protects against cancer (metabolism, cell stress, DNA repair, inflammation).

In cancer cells, 20 genes are changed by vitamin D. This means that vitamin D behaves differently when preventing cancer, than when treating cancer.


Watch now


Editor's Letter 


It was an honor to interview Dr. Welsh this week, listen to her past webinars, and read her research. I had two big take-aways from this week.


The first was that vitamin D was as effective as Tamoxifen at treating hormone-related breast cancers. This news needs to spread! These papers need to be read. Wouldn't this be a much less toxic way to fight breast cancer?


The second was that the NIH was willing to fund, to the tune of $1.76M, a project on vitamin D and cancer. It is a 5-year study, so the results won't be overnight, but we are confident from other research our scientists have done, that it will be successful. Then what? The government has backed a study on natural cures for cancer (and hopefully cancer prevention). Wow!


For now, please forward this newsletter to those women you love and if you want a short video, check out this 10-minute interview where Dr.  Cedric Garland tells it like it is - vitamin D prevents cancer!  


Have a great week!


Susan Siljander       

Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & 

Research Organization  

Moving Research into Practice NOW!
Order Your Home Vitamin D Test TODAY!
Your participation in this project funds all the GrassrootsHealth research and promotion.
Help add prevention to California legislation on breast cancer

View California Legislature's resolution
View pdf

Write Senator Vidak
web page

Write Assemblyman Marc Steinhorth
web form
UAlbany Researcher Explores Link Between Vitamin D, Breast Cancer Treatment

University at Albany


June 4, 2015

Read Announcement 


Cellular and Molecular effects of Vitamin D on Carcinogenesis

JoEllen Welsh, PhD

July 2012

Read Paper


Genomic Vitamin D Signaling in Breast Cancer: Insights from Animal Models and Human Cells

JoEllen Welsh, PhD

July 2010

Read Paper


The Impact of Vitamin D in Breast Cancer: Genomics, Pathways, Metabolism

JoEllen Welsh, PhD

June 2014

Read Paper


Does Vitamin D Prevent Cancer?

Cedric Garland, Dr PH FACE

Carole Baggerly

February 2014

Watch interview


Video of the Week

Vitamin D Stops Breast Cancer Cell Growth

JoEllen Welsh, PhD

Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Albany State University of New York

GenNYsys Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics

April 3, 2013


Watch Now

D*action now available in New York State!



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