Selenium may lower colorectal cancer risk

Nov. 16, 2004 at 4:00 PM
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TUCSON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Arizona researchers have discovered higher levels of selenium in one's blood appear to be associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.

Dr. Elizabeth Jacobs of the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson and her colleagues pooled data from three randomized trials -- the Wheat Bran Fiber Trial, the Polyp Prevention Trial, and the Polyp Prevention Study -- to assess the effect of selenium levels in patients' blood on colorectal adenoma recurrence.

Selenium is a trace element found in meats and grains, but dietary intake can vary by geographic area because of different concentrations of the element in the soil. It is already known people living in regions where selenium intake is low have higher rates of several cancers, including colorectal cancer.

Trial participants with the highest blood selenium levels had a 34 percent decreased risk of developing a new adenoma, compared with participants at the lowest end of the study that was released Tuesday in Tucson.

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