Cancer :: High iron and cholesterol equals high cancer risk

Dr. Arch G. Mainous III, of the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and associate, analyzed cancer risk for 3,278 participants in the Framingham Offspring Study whose iron and lipid levels were high.

The subjects were 30 years or older when they joined the study between 1979 and 1982 and their blood levels of iron and HDL, LDL and VLDL cholesterol were initially checked. They were tracked for cancer occurrence until 1996 and 1997.

The investigators found that subjects with elevated iron had a 66% higher cancer risk; those with high VLDL (very low density lipids) had a 54% greater risk; but the increased risk for participants with both elevated iron and high VLDL was 168%. The researchers speculate that the iron and lipids interact to create oxidative stress, which promotes cancer.

These findings suggest that reducing iron and/or lipid levels in individuals where both are elevated may lower cancer risk.

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