An investigation carried out by the National Center for Oncological Research (CNIO) and the Research Institute of the Hospital del Mar (IMIM), with the collaboration of North American scientists, has concluded that the presence of high levels of certain metals in the Organisms, such as selenium and nickel, can reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, while other substances, such as lead, cadmium and arsenic, have the opposite effect, that is, they increase the chances of suffering from this pathology.
Selenium is a micronutrient present in foods such as fish, bread or cereals, skin of potatoes, some meats, lentils or eggs .. For its part, nickel can be found either in canned foods or ready meals in utensils bathed in nickel, or in foods such as cabbage, corn, tomatoes, herrings, cacacuetes, raisins, onions, spinach, peas, cocoa or tea.
The researchers analyzed the concentrations of certain heavy metals, minerals and metalloids (12 elements in total) in the nails of 118 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in another 400 patients admitted to the hospital, but who did not suffer from the disease.
Patients with high concentrations of selenium and nickel had between 33 and 95 percent less chance of suffering from this deadly disease
The study showed that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer was up to six times higher in those individuals who had the highest levels of lead, and two to three times higher in those who had higher levels of cadmium and arsenic. In contrast, patients with high concentrations of selenium and nickel had between 33 and 95 percent less chance of suffering from this deadly disease, as explained by the director of work, Núria Malats, who belongs to the group of genetic and molecular epidemiology of the CNIO.
Previous studies had already associated selenium with a lower risk of developing several types of cancer. In fact, this element has the ability to neutralize the harmful effects of lead, arsenic and cadmium, a substance present in tobacco and considered carcinogenic.
To reach these conclusions, scientists also took into account factors such as smoking (associated with a third of cases of pancreatic cancer), overweight or diabetes.