Shining some (sun) light on real approaches to breast cancer

A recent in vitro study published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology should make the mainstream’s cut-and-burn approach to breast cancer look as silly, barbaric, and outdated as blood-letting with leeches. Unfortunately, the study probably went unnoticed by 99.9 percent of surgeons and oncologists…

You see, surgeons and oncologists keep alive the same, old, outdated, conventional “wisdom” about cancer. They tell us cancer results from damage to the cells’ DNA, which then undergo chaotic processes of cellular replication and growth. They say the only approach is to wait and then kill cancer cells once they form

So, many women feel breast cancer is like a time bomb, deep in the bosom, ticking away and waiting to go off. And the moment a mammogram or biopsy turns up abnormal findings or cells, mainstream surgeons rush to the scene promising that a lumpectomy or mastectomy will save her life. And they’ll often throw in some radiation and chemotherapy for good measure.

But in this new study, researchers identified a new type of cancer cell–called cancer stem cells. Researchers believe these stem cells play a pivotal role in the formation of breast cancer, its progression toward malignant cancer, and its resistance to conventional treatments.

According to their research, there appear to be “mother” stem cells capable of infinitely renewing themselves and producing many “daughter” cells. Theoretically, the presence of even a small number of mother breast cancer stem cells can cause a recurrence of breast cancer.

Plus, these mother cells are resistant to conventional cancer treatments. In fact, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can actually increase their numbers because the treatments don’t address the root cause of the cancer.

This new finding may help explain the outcome of another study that did make the news last month…

In that controversial meta-analysis, researchers found that more aggressive treatment measures–such as double mastectomies–do not improve mortality rates in women with breast cancer. In fact, women who underwent aggressive treatments of early cancer ended up having the exact same mortality rate as women who received no treatment. Perhaps those aggressive measures don’t change the outcomes because they don’t address the root cause of the cancer.

Fortunately, it appears one basic, yet powerful nutrient has a preventative role where conventional therapies have frequently failed for generations.

Enter vitamin D.

The new research studied the effect of vitamin D3 (and an analogue of vitamin D) on preventing the progression of an early form of “abnormal cells” called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) into invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC).

As I’ve reported before, DCIS doesn’t always progress to IDC. But when it does, these researchers believe mother stem cells initiate the mutation and growth. So for this study, they applied a vitamin D3 compound to DCIS cells to see what would happen.

They noted three important outcomes:

First, the mother stem cells amazingly decreased in number. (Remember–conventional cancer therapies can actually increase their populations!)

Second, the daughter cells started to behave in a more “normal” way.

You see, cells in culture (in a petri dish) can form “mammosphere” groups of breast cells. In this case, the mammosphere cell culture included breast cancer stem cells along with normal breast cells.

But after the researchers applied the vitamin D3, the mammosphere culture transformed from disorganization and irregular patterns into more organized and symmetrical shapes formed by normal breast cells.

Third, the vitamin D3 reduced the cells’ chemical markers associated with cancer.

These three discoveries all point to one big benefit for cancer patients: Vitamin D may be more effective (and safer) than any of the conventional therapies. It is much safer and more selective than surgery, radiation and chemotherapy because it targets cancer at the cellular level, the ultimate source of breast cancer. Plus, vitamin D doesn’t cause any damaging side effects, unlike conventional cancer therapies. In fact, the “side effects” of vitamin D include a long list of other health benefits.

Your body actually makes vitamin D naturally by converting a key cholesterol metabolite using ultraviolet B light (from the sun) in the skin.

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

The two key components of vitamin D production–cholesterol and sunlight–are the two natural elements against which mainstream medicine has waged war for decades. No wonder the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in this country has gone hand in hand with epidemics of cancer, dementia, and neurological diseases like MS. Diseases that are all associated with inadequate vitamin D levels. (You just can’t make this up!)

In the August 2015 issue of my Insider’s Cures newsletter, I explained why I raised my recommendation for daily intake of vitamin D to 10,000 IU, but more reasons just keep coming.

Mainstream dermatologists and other physicians remind me of the crazed Captain Ahab from Herman Melville’s book Moby Dick who “would strike the sun if it insulted me.”

Dermatologists tell us to block out the sun with sunscreen. But sunscreen shuts down vitamin D production in the skin and often includes toxic substances besides.

In the modern era, many women rarely expose their skin to the sun…and they expose their breasts almost never. Some researchers believe abnormalities in breast tissue now detected by questionable techniques like mammograms are actually due to deficiencies of vitamin D and lack of sun exposure.

At the risk of sounding scandalous, women might consider going “topless” when sunbathing in private (or on an appropriate beach). Women typically sunbathe topless in Europe. That simple practice could be one reason why European women historically have far lower rates of breast cancer, especially in Southern Europe where they get more sun.

When we moved back to Florida, I was struck by the number of beaches that now allow “topless” sunbathing–a big change from when I worked there as a Medical Examiner 30 years ago. But of course, back then, I only got to the beach when it was the scene of a death investigation!

You must have heard the news that it’s now perfectly legal for women on the streets of New York City to walk around topless anywhere, anytime. It is another matter of “equality,” according to the new progressive mayor, since men have long had the same “right” to bear their chests.

So, now I’ll make up for a lot of lost time and get this advice off my chest: Get some sun every day. And women–make sure to get it on your chest. Also, especially as the summer wans, make sure to supplement with 10,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

P.S. In tomorrow’s Daily Dispatch, I’ll tell you about five foods that can help prevent breast cancer. Stay tuned.


  1. “Vitamin D compounds reduce mammosphere formation and decrease expression of putative stem cell markers in breast cancer,” J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015 Apr;148:148-55
  1. “Doubt is raised over value of surgery for breast lesion at earliest stage,” The New York Times ( 8/20/2015