Antioxidants linked to lower risk of pancreatic cancer

By Sheryl Kay • Published: November 6th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

With famed celebrities like Steven Jobs, Luciano Pavarotti and Patrick Swayze succumbing to pancreatic cancer, discussions about finding a cure for this dreaded disease have become much more commonplace.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth deadliest cancer. It kills more than a quarter of a million people worldwide each year. Only 3 percent of people diagnosed with the disease live for more than five years.

Now, it appears that a simple vitamin regimen may, at the very least, help to lower the risk of developing the disease.

In a study published in the journal Gut, investigators evaluated the medical records of more than 23,000 men and women who participated in a four-year program to monitor nutrition and its effects on cancer. These same patients were then followed for 10 years.

During that decade, 49 participants were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The researchers then compared the records of these patients to those who did not develop the disease. Both groups were also assessed for intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and zinc.

Careful observation revealed that people who consumed the highest amounts of selenium and vitamins C and E were 67 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those with the lowest intake.

While the researchers would not state there is a definitive correlation between the risk of pancreatic cancer and the consumption of antioxidants, they did recommend a low-fat diet, with increased fruits, vegetables, chicken and fish for current cancer patients. These foods are higher in antioxidants, which may provide some degree of prevention for reoccurrence.

Even if you don’t have cancer, a healthy diet with selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E is probably a safe bet, too.