According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be about 44,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the United States this year. Further, over 37,000 people will die from this deadly form of cancer. New research out of Australia, however, shows interesting information regarding one possibility on how to prevent pancreatic cancer, and the findings might surprise you.
One Possibility for How to Prevent Pancreatic Cancer
Scientists looked at 700 patients with pancreatic cancer and about 700 members of the general population in Queensland, Australia. They found that those in the study who were exposed to the highest amounts of ultraviolet radiation in the region of their birth had a 24% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than those who lived in areas of less sun exposure.
As if this isn’t confusing enough, given all of the conflicting information regarding the sun and cancer, those participants who were classified as having the most “sun-sensitive skin” had a 49% decreased malignancy than others. And those who had a history of skin cancer and even sun-damage related skin lesions had up to 40% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than those with no skin cancer history or sun-related skin lesions.
Researchers caution that this isn’t reason enough to scald yourself in the sun’s rays.
“This study is very innovative and I applaud the design, but translating it to what’s really going on in pancreatic cancer is a stretch,” says Dr. James D’Olimpio of the Monter Cancer Center in Lake Success, N.Y.
D’Olimpio, a specialist in pancreatic cancer, acknowledges vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory benefits and surmises this could contribute to a lowered cancer risk. But, he warns, “this is a tiny piece” of the larger puzzle on how to prevent pancreatic cancer via vitamin D.
The findings of this study are expected to be presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research conference. According to HealthDay, “studies presented at scientific conferences are not yet peer-reviewed and results are considered preliminary until published in a medical journal.” This study has not yet been published.
Although the study offers some insightful possibilities on how to prevent pancreatic cancer, there is no “final answer” in scientific research. As scientists improve research methodology and even as conditions (like cancer, UV radiation levels, and melanoma research) evolve, so too do the recommendations traveling from the top down.