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Mammography or Primary Prevention...

An Open Letter to the New York Times

by Dr. Cedric F. Garland, Dr. P.H.

Editor, New York Times:

We have closely followed the stories in the Times about the mammography controversy. The coverage has been thorough and superb.

The controversy is about a procedure that, at best, reduces mortality by 15% and does nothing toward primary prevention.

It is not widely realized that most breast cancer is preventable. While the scientific literature reveals many strategies for prevention of breast cancer, the simplest is elimination of the vitamin D deficiency. This is the main known cause of breast cancer. Raising the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level to 40-60 ng/ml could prevent 75-80% of breast cancer incidence (and deaths, of course).

While deciding on the issue of mammography, action can be taken today to raise the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D to appropriate levels.

Sincerely yours,
Cedric F. Garland, Dr. P.H., F.A.C.E.
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
University of California San Diego
Participating Member
Moores UCSD Cancer Center
La Jolla, California