Breast cancer patients taking oestrogen-lowering drugs can relieve joint and muscle pain by taking high dosages of vitamin D, according to a study.
The research, published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, found that the drugs known as aromatase inhibitors are prescribed to help prevent cancer reoccurring, as well as reduce breast tumours fuelled by oestrogen.
This method is less toxic than chemotherapy, but for many patients the drugs can cause musculoskeletal discomfort, including pain and stiffness in the hands, feet, wrists, knees, hips, back and shoulders.
As these drugs can prevent cancers recurring, finding a way to help patients take them is important to avoid relapses.
Antonella Rastelli, of Washington University School of Medicine, said: “About half of patients can experience these symptoms. We don’t know exactly why the pain occurs, but it can be very debilitating - to the point that patients decide to stop taking aromatase inhibitors.”