Reducing the risk of cancer of the pancreas with sunlight

Having a previous history of skin cancer has been found to have a surprisingly positive impact on the risks for pancreatic cancer. Being exposed to high levels of UV radiation, having sun-sensitive skin, and having a history of skin cancer all reduce the risk of developing cancer of the pancreas.

Research conducted in Australia comparing age, sex, socio-demographic information, medical history and skin type/propensity to sunburn of over 700 people was presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Pancreatic Cancer: Progress and Challenges conference. Rachel Neale, one of the researchers of the study, stated that “Several ecological studies… have suggested that people living in areas with high sun exposure have lower risk for pancreatic cancer…”

Dr Neale’s study found that those participants born in areas with the highest levels of UV radiation had a 24% lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those participants born in areas with low levels of UV radiation. The research also discovered that participants with a history of skin cancer were 40% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer and that those people with the most sun-sensitive skin had an incredible 49% lower risk.

However, the researchers point out that people must still be very aware of the risks of prolonged sun exposure and that instead, people should be advised on the importance of vitamin D.

Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
A gland behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon, which together regulate glucose levels in the blood. Full medical glossary
A glandular organ that secretes digestive enzymes and hormones. Full medical glossary
Relating to the pancreas. Full medical glossary
Energy in the form of waves or particles, including radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays. Full medical glossary
Essential substances that cannot be produced by the body and so must be acquired from the diet. Full medical glossary