Over two lakh women in India face the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer every year over the next decade, according to a study here.
It is estimated that the number of fresh cases of breast cancer in India will increase from the current 1,45,000 to around 2,14,000 per year over the next ten or more years.
Breast cancer is an unforgiving disease that reportedly kills more than five lakh women every year across the globe.
According to Globocan data (International Agency for Research on Cancer), India is on top of the table with 1.85 million years of healthy life lost due to breast cancer.
'Healthy life lost' is defined by years lost due to premature death and being incapacitated by the effects of breast cancer.
The study said that breast cancer risk can be significantly decreased by maintaining optimal vitamin D levels. Breast cancer and the likelihood of developing it is not an inevitable risk dictated purely by chance, as latest science on the subject reveals that vitamin D deficiency may be a major causative factor in breast cancer development.
Like many other cells in the body, breast tissue cells bear special surface receptors that are designed to absorb vitamin D. When this pro-hormone attaches itself to these receptors, it essentially instructs breast cells how to behave, including how to divide and replicate in a healthy manner.
Conversely, this same mechanistic action is believed to help protect breast cells against malignant mutations.
"There are vitamin D receptors in breast tissue, and vitamin D can bind to these receptors. This can cause cells like oncogenes to die or stop growing, and can stop the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.
Therefore, it is thought that vitamin D may help in protecting against breast cancer, by making cells in the breast smarter," says the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit organisation in USA working to educate public on vitamin D, sun exposure and health.