October 1, 2015

Director's Letter
Carole Baggerly
Director, GrassrootsHealth 

Let's change the world...

It's time to change the questions that are asked, the range of answers that are given, i.e., it's time to change the game.

In 2005, when I had breast cancer, I learned many things. I truly came to understand that one of the biggest things one faces with a serious disease is a challenge to one's values. At the beginning, when diagnosed with a stage 3 tumor, 2.5 inches in diameter (yes, 2.5 inches), the oncologist said, "of course, you'll do surgery, chemo and radiation."

Value test #1: I have always believed that my body was able to essentially heal itself with some support by me and professionals. This was definitely a test of that. I looked at options but did not know enough to make any decisions other than the "norm." I felt very depressed about these options and suffered the treatments greatly.

Value test #2: During the 2nd round of chemo treatment, I had Paclitaxel which can create a very painful neuropathy, in my case, in the legs and feet. This was extremely debilitating and painful to me. I finally felt "NO! I will not allow this VIOLENCE against my body to continue." The value was non-violence, a very strongly held one. Little did I realize it applied to treatment of my own body.

This feeling of non-violence was so strong that I told my oncologist that I would not complete the last two sessions of this treatment. He tried to persuade me. I said no. He left the room. I still had questions and told the nurse I'd like to see him for my questions. She went out, came back with "He's writing up the charts and said for you to ask me and I'll go get your answers." He wouldn't come back to see me. I changed oncologists.

Value test #3: During radiation, there is definitely scattering of the beams and even though they are more targeted than in the past, there is significant impact on the thyroid (mine is gone), the heart and lung. During one session, I was bleeding from my chest (due to the burning) and again, told the radiologist I would do no more treatments. He was more reasonable, but still wanted me to continue. I did not.

Now, 10 years later, I have experienced demonstrable heart vessel damage, lung function problems. The value here is a re-establishment of the belief in my own body with a very focused effort on constantly learning and implementing nutritional and behavioral actions to keep me healthy.  
These values are what led to the establishment of GrassrootsHealth - and, are what leads us to ask you to help us change the game, to change the questions from drug related solutions to the things we can do with appropriate nutrition (a big player, of course, is vitamin D) and actions.

Please sign up to host a
Breast Cancer Prevention D*party
in October, 2015
Our goal is to see at least 100 such parties this month.

Start an open dialogue with the attendees:
  • How do we protect our health?
  • How can we respond to the drug/radiation approaches in other ways?
  • How can we use this party as a vehicle to give back, to share our knowledge with others?
Share you party's ideas/thoughts with us, we want to post them. We want to create a MUCH bigger movement of people who are ready to engage everyone in an open dialogue about protecting our health, realizing the inter-relatedness of all that we do, loving our bodies with the compassion they deserve for serving us.

My ongoing heartfelt thanks to each of you for participating in this "grassroots" endeavor. We will be sharing some very significant progress we have made with YOUR DATA in the forthcoming weeks!

Have a D*party soon! Our lives depend on it.
Fondly yours,

Carole Baggerly

Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research into Practice NOW!

Feature Article

How Does Vitamin D Prevent Breast Cancer?  

The Research
Studies from researchers on the GrassrootsHealth scientist
have shown that there is a correlation between vitamin D serum levels and breast cancer.
Cedric Garland, Dr. PH, FACE, UCSD School of Medicine,  studied vitamin D serum levels of 1200 healthy,  premenopausal women, 600 who later developed breast  cancer and 600 who remained cancer-free, and found that  those with the lowest levels of vitamin D within three months of their breast cancer diagnosis had a risk three times greater than those in the highest level group. This study does not establish a causal relationship between breast cancer and vitamin D but it points to a relevant window of time for cancer prevention in the last three months preceding a tumor diagnosis. This is a critical time for the growth of the tumor as the tumor is actively recruiting blood vessels necessary for growth.(Read article on study)  
A study at Creighton University led by Joan Lappe, PhD, RN, FAAN, found that a dose of 1100 IU/day of vitamin D along with 1400-1500 mg/day calcium helped women aged 55 and older raise their average serum vitamin D level to 38 ng/ml (from a baseline of 29 ng/ml) and prevent 4 out of 5, or 80%, of all invasive cancers including breast cancer.

Click to Watch 8 min. Video on Breast Cancer Prevention

How does it work?
Dr. JoEllen Welsh, Empire Innovations Professor at University at Albany, State University of New York and GenNYsis Center of Excellence in Cancer Genomics, explains in this 10 minute interview how vitamin D has direct effects on breast cancer cells. Briefly, vitamin D helps to regulate hundreds of normal cell processes, including cell growth and differentiation, protection from DNA damage, immune system response in breast cells, cellular metabolism, and cell death. When not properly regulated, any of these processes can contribute to growth and proliferation of cancer cells.
GrassrootsHealth Breast Cancer Study
GrassrootsHealth has been advocating vitamin D to reduce breast cancer since its inception but the medical community is slow to respond. In fall of 2011, we launched a new breast cancer study, to parallel our D*action study. The study is open to women 60 years or older and free of cancer at the time of enrollment (they may have had it in the past). Participation includes a home vitamin D test and an online health questionnaire to be completed each 6 months for a period of 5 years.
In an analysis of data gathered through mid-2014, 839 of 844 women remain cancer-free and have a median 25(OH)D serum level of 50 ng/ml. Five women have been diagnosed with breast cancer; four of these women had 25(OH)D values below the median. Overall there was an 80% lower rate of breast cancer among those ≥50 ng/ml compared to those <50 ng/ml.  Click here to view the full poster.

Click to view full poster

The study is ongoing and with your help, we can bring research into practice and prevent breast cancer through vitamin D.
Sign up to be part of this breast cancer study - you can learn your vitamin D level and help fund important breast cancer research. 
Dr. Cedric Garland
Research News
Discovery of Vitamin D for Prevention

Written by Cedric F. Garland, Dr, PH, FACE
University of California at San Diego Medical Center
Epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University discovered in the late 1980's and the University of California San Diego in the 1990's, that women who live in sunny places are relatively immune to breast cancer.
On the other hand, those who live in places with long winters with little sun, such as Iceland, Finland, the Scandinavian Countries, the British Isles, and, in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand have extremely high rates. This pattern in both hemispheres could not be explained persuasively by dietary differences.

Within countries such as the US, Italy and the former USSR, death rates from breast cancer are markedly higher in the North than the South. In the US, the death rate from breast cancer is lowest in sunny Hawaii. In Italy it is lowest in Sicily, the sunniest province. In the USSR it was the sunniest southern republics that had the lowest incidence rates of breast cancer. The same pattern has been found in other countries.
Studies of individuals then showed that women with lower levels of vitamin D metabolite in the their blood serum had much higher incidence rates of breast cancer. That vitamin D metabolite is called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. It's the main circulating and storage form of vitamin D, and is the standard measure of vitamin D status. The effect is profound for adenocarcinoma of the breast, the most common type of breast cancer that accounts for 80% of US cases.
During the next few weeks we will explore the type of vitamin D, and the blood serum concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D needed to prevent the majority of breast cancer or convert the rest to a mild disease that will not threaten the life of patients who are given standard care combined with appropriate vitamin D supplementation.

Editor's Letter
Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

I hate breast cancer! It has taken the lives of some of the best people I have known, and derailed the lives of others. Of course, at the time, I knew nothing of vitamin D's preventive properties. When I heard this for the first time, it was a no-brainer to test and supplement vitamin D both for myself and my family.

Do you remember your "Aha!" moment? If this newsletter was forwarded to you, maybe it is now. But if you are a participant, maybe it was years ago. Try to remember how you felt. Surprised - that something so easy and natural could help. Outraged - that you didn't know about it sooner. Relieved - that now you have a good plan of action. Excited - to tell other people.

Please use this month to remember how you felt when you first found out about vitamin D. Whose health would you like to improve? What is the best method of telling them? You could forward this newsletter. You could send a personal note with just a short video (check out our beginner's corner on our new Breast Cancer Prevention web page). Or... maybe you can collect a group of people in your house to have a D*party.

Let's find a way to get the word out this month. Let's use the momentum of Breast Cancer Awareness month to prevent future cancers.

Just do it!

Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization  
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
Order Now
Order Your Home Vitamin D Test TODAY!
Your participation in this project funds all the GrassrootsHealth research and promotion.
All the latest research and news on breast cancer prevention

Click to view
GrassrootsHealth has launched a breast cancer prevention project. Watch this video to learn more. Click here to sign up.

Results from our Breast Cancer study show vitamin D levels > 50 ng/ml may provide additional reduction in breast cancer risk.
Host a Breast Cancer Prevention D*party this month!

Click here to ask questions about vitamin D and breast cancer prevention

Questions will be answered by Dr. Cedric Garland and published in the news next week.

GrassrootsHealth Researchers in the News

Online News for the medical community
September 29, 2015

Bruce Hollis and Carol Wagner found that 6400 IU/day vitamin D, given to a lactating mother, was equivalent to supplementing the baby with 400 IU/day (the current RDA). This article calls to question whether we should be treating the mother or the baby? Should we believe the age-old hypothesis that breast milk lacks vitamin D? Maybe it only lacks vitamin D when the mother is deficient.
Open to any US woman, 18 years or older, at 12-17 weeks of pregnancy

D*certified Practitioners

Take two CME courses online to become D*certified
Learn how you can help solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to High Risk of Premenopausal Breast Cancer

UCSD News Article
Cedric Garland

Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial
Joan Lappe
Read Paper

Does Vitamin D Prevent Cancer?
Interview with Cedric Garland and Carole Baggerly
Watch Video

Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Interview with JoEllen Welsh
Listen Now 

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