MARIN (SAN FRANCISCO)— Data collected from thousands of Marin County women will be used to validate a new study that finds a possible link between high breast cancer rates and a Vitamin D receptor.

Since 2005, Dr. Kathie D’Alessandro of Point Reyes Station has been studying Marin County breast cancer with UCSF and the company InterGenetics Inc.

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Dr. D’Alessandro explained one novel finding of her research was that the Vitamin D receptor’s gene variant was significantly enriched in the elevated risk group.

Larry Meredith, director of Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, said the findings will be applied to a larger Marin study of 14,000 women.

“We have bio-specimens and so we will work with the researchers who validate some of the findings,” said Meredith.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

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Joyce Bichler from the advocacy group Breast Cancer Action said its already been proven that environment plays a role in breast cancer.

“There are many things besides genetics that play into this. Figuring that out is really the task at hand,” she claimed.

Dr. Dalessandri concurred and said the environment may impact genes and that the main environmental factors are diet and nutrition.

The study concluded that, in Marin, obese women and women with high alcohol intake are at higher risk for breast cancer.

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