Can a substance commonly found in foods such as kidneys, liver, shellfish and mushrooms increases a woman’s risk of womb cancer by 22 per cent?
A study has shown that the metal cadmium – which is also found in tobacco – which was discovered in high amounts in patients who had the disease.
Smoking was shown to more than double our cadmium exposure, according to experts from The University of Missouri, United States (U.S.).
They say that it is not necessary to cut cadmium-containing foods from your diet but warn they should be eaten in moderation. Cadmium is said to disrupt the hormonal balance and encourage rapid cell division.
The five-year study was published in the journal PLOS One.
Lead author, Prof. Jane McElroy, explained: “Cadmium is an estrogen-mimicking chemical, meaning it imitates estrogen and its effects on the body.
“Endometrial cancer has been associated with estrogen exposure. Because cadmium mimics estrogen, it may lead to an increased growth of the endometrium, contributing to an increased risk of endometrial cancer.”
Endometrial cancer – also called womb or uterine cancer – is the fourth most common cancer in women in the US, United Kingdom (U.K.), Canada and Australia.
The research team enrolled 631 women with a history of endometrial cancer in the study and 879 women without a history of the cancer to serve as a control group.
The participants were asked to complete a 200-question survey about risk factors associated with endometrial cancer.
Urine and saliva samples were also taken, which showed the rise of endometrial cancer rates in individuals with increased cadmium levels.
Researchers recommended women – especially those already at risk of this type of cancer – take steps to limit their exposure to the metal. “We all have cadmium present in our kidneys and livers, but smoking has been shown to more than double a person’s cadmium exposure,” McElroy said.
“Also, we recommend being attentive to your diet, as certain foods such as shellfish, kidney and liver can contain high levels of cadmium. You don’t necessarily need to cut these from your diet, but eat them in moderation. This is especially true if women have a predisposition to endometrial cancer, such as a family history, diabetes or obesity.”
The researchers said more research is needed to better understand the risks associated with cadmium.
The most common symptom of womb cancer is abnormal bleeding from the vagina, although most people with abnormal bleeding don’t have cancer. Bleeding may start as light bleeding accompanied by a watery discharge, which may get heavier over time.
Most women diagnosed with womb cancer have been through the menopause, so any vaginal bleeding will be unusual.
In women who haven’t been through the menopause, unusual vaginal bleeding may consist of: Periods that are heavier than usual; and Vaginal bleeding in between normal periods.
Less common symptoms include pain in the lower abdomen (tummy) and pain during sex.
If womb cancer reaches a more advanced stage, it may cause additional symptoms. These include: Pain in the back, legs, or pelvis; Loss of appetite; Tiredness; and Nausea.
Source: The Guardian Newspaper