Cadmium Causes Prostate Cancer – How True Is This?

There are many risk factors that have a causal effect on prostate cancer, and one of them is most definitely exposure to cadmium. Actually it is no news that such environmental factors like specific workplace exposure to cadmium and several of its compounds are associated with an increased risk of prostate type of cancer. Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal and also an environmental pollutant. It occurs as minor component in most zinc ores and therefore is a by-product of zinc production, it’s a compound used to stabilize plastic. In recent times, the use of cadmium has been decreasing in most applications because of its high toxicity and carcinogenicity, and the associated health and environmental concerns.

Cadmium poisoning has been an occupational hazard associated with a number of industrial processes such as metal plating and the production of nickel-cadmium batteries, pigments, plastics, and other synthetics. As a result, a lot of workers are exposed to it through inhalation of cadmium-containing fumes, which based on the fact that cadmium and several cadmium-containing compounds are known carcinogens, can induce many types of cancer and even result in death. More specifically, certain research results, though inconclusive at this time, have suggested that men exposed to higher levels of the element cadmium may be at high risk for developing prostate condition; so that there is truth in the “cadmium causes prostate cancer” concerns.

How? Exposure to cadmium interferes with the body’s ability to absorb zinc. Zinc in adequate quantities is believed to have a protective effect against prostate malignant tumor and other diseases, and men who have the carcinoma also happen to always have below average levels of zinc within their bodies. As a result of the cadmium intrusion, the inability of the body to absorb zinc suddenly leaves the body exposed to the causal ingredients of prostate cancer.

However, it also appears as though cadmium can be an effective anti-tumor agent when given at non-toxic doses. In the form of a metallotherapeutic (metal-based) drug, the substance actually has the potential to induce programmed cell death or apoptosis in various cell types, so that it can damage tumors via induction of apoptosis. It already has been found that cadmium can inhibit the formation of both chemically induced and spontaneously occurring tumors in the liver and lungs and by now scientific investigations are well underway to determine precisely how much it might also be helpful in the prevention or management of prostate condition.

You see, even though cadmium happens to be toxic, there still exists one enzyme, a carbonic anhydrase, which has cadmium as reactive centre to it. All of a sudden, there is renewed interest in determining if cadmium was not such a horrible customer to be avoided at all cost after all.

I’ll tell you what I think; I think until the final results are out, you might want to keep your cadmium exposure levels at 0, so that at least you don’t carry and increased risk of prostate cancer anymore.

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