Study Links High Cadmium Levels with Breast Cancer
High levels of cadmium may be tied to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new study. However, whether increased cadmium actually causes breast cancer or whether cadmium levels increase in response to treatment or the disease itself remains unknown.
Cadmium is a long-lasting heavy metal that accumulates in the body. It is found in food and tobacco smoke and is thought to be a carcinogen. Jane A. McElroy, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues examined cadmium levels in urine samples of 246 breast cancer patients between ages 20 and 69 and 254 matched controls. There results were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The authors found that women with the highest cadmium levels had twice the breast cancer risk of those with the lowest cadmium levels. They write, "Given the ubiquitous exposure of the general population to cadmium, the mode of the association between cadmium exposure and breast cancer risk warrants further study."
Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 21, 2006