by Dr. Carla Garcia
The answer: Low vitamin D levels. As we move past October and the myriad mentions of breast cancer, I am hoping we can do the same soon, with COVID 19…move past it.
These two diseases, although vastly different from each other, are both affected by vitamin D levels. Most recently studies have shown that people with a reduced level of vitamin D are at greater risk of COVID 19 infection than people who have adequate levels. People with low levels of the “sunshine” vitamin are twice as likely to test positive.
With breast cancer, the studies show a similar relationship – women with higher levels of vitamin D are at a lower risk for breast cancer. Deficiency can lead to illness and infection. Interestingly enough, people deficient in vitamin D are more likely to be obese.
What we call vitamin D is not a vitamin at all. It is a prohormone – a substance the body converts to a hormone. This hormone is produced in the kidneys and controls our body’s absorption of calcium and it affects the immune system. This well-discussed “vitamin” activates your immune system to kill bacteria. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce inflammation. Who knew?
The other thing that breast cancer and COVID 19 have in common is thermography. Thermography is used to detect temperature changes in the breast and thermographic fever-scanners are used to detect increased temperatures that may indicate a fever or flu infection. People who have travelled through an international airport have likely been screened for a fever with a thermography camera. As a breast screening tool, it has been used successfully by women all over the world.
If you missed getting a breast screening in October, please call our office to schedule a painless, radiation-free thermography scan. Images are taken from a distance and there is no contact with the camera. The area imaged includes the collar bone (clavicle) and the underarms (axillae).