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How To Increase Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer By Inflammation

Updated on January 2, 2013

Fighting Inflammation to Prevent Pancreatic Cancer

Any kind of pancreatic inflammation increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. There is an increased risk of cancer in people who have hereditary pancreatitis, and for those who have cystic fibrosis. Another group of people who has high risk of cancer are those who have inflammation caused by alcoholism, or irritation and inflammation caused by diseases doctors cannot identify.

There is something about chronic irritation and inflammation that causes cells with damaged DNA to accumulate and cancerous cells to proliferate. And inflammation is an important consideration in the development of the disease precisely because the pancreas is not exposed to the toxic stresses that are known to cause metastatic tumors in other organs.

Why Cancer In The Pancreas Is Different From Other Organs

The liver, for example, constantly detoxifies literally tens of thousands of different chemicals from food, medication, the environment, and the body itself. The kidneys and the bladders are exposed to concentrated water-soluble toxic substances. The lungs respond to air pollution and tobacco smoke. The skin is damaged by sunlight.

But the pancreas is more or less protected from all these outside influences. When pancreatic cancer develops here, it's far more likely to be due to "inside" influences.

What Researches Have Found About Pancreas Cancer

Researchers often refer to carcinomas of the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, thyroid, and so on as a "caretaker defect." The watchdog genes that repair damaged DNA for some reason fail to do their job so cancer results.

Researchers refer to carcinoma of the pancreas, on the other hand, as a "landscaper defect." The problem is not just defective DNA inside cells, but also irritant chemicals surrounding them. There are genes that increase the risk of pancreatic adenocarcinoma, but these genes don't get activated unless there are also (1) processes of inflammation and (2) toxic triggers from the environment. Smoking, for instance, greatly increases the risk of pancreatic tumors--but in people who already have pancreatitis.

If there is any good news about this kind of cancer, it may be that since more than one factor is required to cause, there may be more than one way to prevent it. One of the overlooked factors in this disease is the role of the bacteria in the colon.

Probiotics Can Help Pancreatic Cancer

When most of think about probiotics, we think of maybe some product like the various brands of yogurt, a commonly consumed culture of Lactobacillus acidophilous. Other strains of probiotic bacteria, however, can be very helpful for people who have pancreatic cancer, but only if they are taken at the right time.

Many people with this form of cancer have surgery. A little over 50 per cent people who have partial removal of the pancreas develop various kinds of intestinal infections. Friendly bacteria don't bring the risk of post-operative bacteria down to zero. Fortunately, physicians at the Niigata General Hospital in Japan have found that giving their patients a mixture of Enterococcus faecalis T-110, Clostridium butyricum TO-A, and Bacillus mesentericus TO-A reduced the rate of infections from a little over 50 per cent to a little under 25 per cent.

There is also evidence from studies conducted at the University Hospital in Linköping, Sweden that giving lab animals symbiotic bacteria can stop the inflammation that causes pancreatitis that contributes to the development of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

How Priobiotic Stops The Inflammation of The Pancreas

Inflammation of the pancreas is accompanied by the accumulation of free radicals of oxygen, often referred to as reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this case, the use of the term "species" does not mean that the oxygen is alive (as one natural health "expert" maintains), but rather that oxygen can exist in different electrical forms. These ROS are also found in other kinds of abdominal injuries.

The antioxidant glutathione neutralizes the ROS and stops inflammation. The role of probiotic bacteria in this process is to stimulate the pancreas to make more glutathione, which stops the inflammation. In studies with animals, Lactobacillus fermentum is especially useful.

So does every pancreatic cancer patient need to run out and get probiotics, preferably in a capsule form that bypasses digestion in the stomach? The answer is no. In fact, it's absolutely not.

When To Take Probiotics?

When Scandinavian scientists tried giving probiotics to pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis patients after they got sick, they found that patients actually got worse. If patients got probiotics before they got sick, then the antioxidant effect seemed to reduce inflammation and the patients got better.

It seems that the bacteria send signals to the pancreas to get ready for infection. A healthy pancreas gets ready to survive infection, whereas a sick pancreas gets ready to "take itself out." Probiotics are great for health maintenance, and they are probably helpful if taken before surgery, but they should be left alone once surgery has been performed or when cancer is active.

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      7 years ago

      WOW! I learned something today. Thanks for sharing


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