Cadmium also appears to be directly tied to pancreatic cancer.
The northeast Nile Delta region of Egypt exhibits a high incidence of early-onset pancreatic cancer. This region is one of the most polluted areas of Egypt, with the pollutants often winding up in soil and affecting farm workers. Researchers conducted a study to explore the possible connection between cadmium and the often deadly cancer.
Alison Kriegel of Tulane University Health Sciences Center and her colleagues assessed blood cadmium levels of 31 newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer patients and 52 hospital comparison subjects from Mansoura, Egypt. The scientists "found a significant difference between the mean serum cadmium levels in patients versus comparison subjects but not in age, sex, residence, occupation, or smoking status."
The study further point out that two commonly mentioned risk factors for pancreatic cancer - age and smoking - can also be associated with cadmium.
The authors explain: "Cadmium accumulates in the body over time because there are no specific mechanisms for its removal. The half-life of this metal in the body ranges from 10 to 30 years, with an average of 15 years. In addition, cigarette smoking is a significant source of cadmium. One cigarette contains 1–2 μg cadmium, and inhaled cadmium is absorbed much more efficiently than is ingested cadmium."