An article published by the NZ Herald (19 April 2010) quoting research that links vitamin taking and breast cancer, once again confirms that you cannot believe everything you read in the papers.
The journalist Lincoln Tan has quoted a Swedish study undertaken in 1997 on 35, 329 cancer-free women who completed a self-administered health questionnaire. A mean follow up of nine and a half years gave the following results;
* 293 of 9,000 women who took vitamins developed breast cancer
* 8707 women (or 96.7%) who took vitamins did not develop breast cancer
* 681 of non vitamin takers developed breast cancer
Lincoln Tan's interpretation of this piece of research can be considered highly flawed from a scientific perspective. A self-administered questionaire does not constitute a piece of major research and this research was not specifically designed to show cause and effect. Tan also failed to point out that the chief researcher involved in the study, Susanna Larsson MD, agrees that it is possible that other factors not measured in the study could explain the link found between breast cancer and vitamins.
The published study is up against numerous contradictory studies showing no link between vitamin use and cancer. Supplementation with vitamins is widely established as being extremely safe when used correctly - especially when compared to the safety profile of pharmaceutical drugs.
"Consumers should not be deterred by the recent biased article published by the New Zealand Herald" says a New Zealand Society of Naturopaths spokesperson. "If unsure about taking a natural supplement, about dosaging or about potential interactions between natural supplements and drugs, it is always advised to contact a local registered naturopath for professional advice", says the spokesperson.
For infomation on how to contact a fully qualified local naturopath registered with the NZ Society of Naturopaths, go to http://www.naturopath.org.nz.