This write-up by Dr. John Cannell is very interesting because it concerns an 83 year old woman with pancreatic cancer who started taking 100,000 IUs a day of Vitamin D3 to treat her cancer, and she showed signs of remission which went on for at least 8 months. After that, they lost track of her, but who knows, maybe she is still going strong.
I'm posting this for two reasons: first, in case someone you know develops pancreatic cancer, and hopefully it won't be you yourself. And second, to demonstrate how safe taking Vitamin D3 really is because this woman took 100,000 IUs a day for at least 8 months, apparently with no adverse effects at all. It didn't even cause her blood calcium level to rise too high- and that's the first thing you look for. And it makes me realize that people like me who take 5000 IUs a day have got nothing to worry about.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous cancers people develop, ranking the fourth most common type of cancer that results in mortality. Pancreatic cancer typically has a very poor prognosis: 25% of people survive one year and only 5% live for five years.
By the time an individual develops symptoms, the tumor has already spread. The most common symptoms and signs of pancreatic cancer are abdominal pain, jaundice (yellow skin), weight loss, light-colored stools and dark urine.
A recent paper reported on an 83-year-old woman who experienced jaundice, unintentional weight loss and abdominal discomfort. She was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer in January of 2015. The patient underwent one course of chemotherapy before deciding not to undergo anymore chemotherapy. Unknown to her doctor, she started taking 50,000 IU/day of vitamin D in March of 2015 to treat her cancer.
Her initial pancreatic CAT scan showed a 3.6 x 2.7 cm mass in her pancreas with metastasis in her lymph nodes. On 9/4/15, the lesion was slightly smaller, and she was feeling quite well. Her calcium was high normal at 9.6, and her 25(OH)D was reported as >150 ng/ml. She was lost to follow up in January of 2016 after having 8 months of symptom free pancreatic cancer.
The authors state:
“Given the poor prognosis of pancreatic cancer and the limited treatment options for patients, this case should stimulate further investigation. The daily dose of 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 was well tolerated in our patient for over 10 months at the time of writing. Consideration should be given to a clinical trial that evaluates a similar dose.”
Due to the poor prognosis and emotional toll of this disease, pancreatic cancer is a health outcome that urgently requires further research. This case report demonstrates that not everyone who takes 50,000 IU/day will develop hypercalcemia. I agree with the author’s statement that researchers should use pharmacological doses of vitamin D (50,000 to 100,000 IU/day) in a clinical trial. I predict some people will respond to such treatment.