UV Exposure May Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk, Study Finds

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Credit: Pavel Losevsky | Dreamstime

UV Exposure May Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk, Study Finds

Exposure toِ ultraviolet radiation mayِ lowerِ the risk ofِ developing pancreatic cancer, according toِ a newِ study fromِ Australia.
Researchers looked atِ 1,400 people andِ found thatِ those born inِ areas withِ theِ highest levels ofِ ultraviolet (UV) radiation wereِ 34 percent lessِ likely toِ haveِ pancreatic cancer, compared withِ thoseِ born inِ areas withِ theِ lowest UV levels.
We needِ to avoid theِ sun duringِ the daytime periods whenِ UV levels areِ the highest, andِ protect parts ofِ the body thatِ regularly getِ the highest exposure, saidِ study leader Rachel Neale, a researcher atِ the Queensland Institute ofِ Medical Research inِ Queensland.

Risks and benefits

Pancreatic cancer isِ a deadly disease — anِ estimated 44,000 people inِ the U.S.
The researchers asked whereِ theِ participants wereِ born, whereِ theyِ lived sinceِ their birth, theirِ skin type andِ whether theyِ easily developed sunburns, theirِ intake ofِ vitamin D overِ the courseِ of theirِ lives, andِ whether they’dِ beenِ diagnosed orِ treated forِ skin cancer orِ skin lesions.
In thisِ study, participants’ birthplaces wereِ matched toِ NASA data ofِ UV radiation levels, whichِ isِ one wayِ thatِ researchers assess people’s UV exposure.

Why the link?

Researchers aren’t sureِ why thereِ mayِ beِ a link betweenِ UV exposure andِ a lowered risk ofِ pancreatic cancer, Neale said.
Some studies haveِ linked lowerِ rates ofِ cancer inِ general withِ higher vitamin D levels, andِ vitamin D isِ produced byِ sun-exposed skin.
However, studies ofِ pancreatic cancer lookingِ atِ vitamin D levels andِ cancer risk areِ mixed, Neale said, andِ one study published thisِ year inِ the International Journal ofِ Cancer foundِ that people withِ eitherِ very lowِ or veryِ high levels ofِ vitamin D hadِ a higher risk ofِ pancreatic cancer.

Clinical trials are needed to better understand the link, she said.

There areِ alsoِ other possibleِ mechanisms thatِ couldِ explain theِ link, Neale said.
While UV radiation generally hasِ a suppressive effect onِ the immune system, theِ immune system isِ complicated, andِ it’s possibleِ the link hasِ something toِ doِ with immune function, sheِ said.
Genetics partly governs people’s reactions toِ sunlight, andِ may alsoِ play a role, sheِ said..