Exposure to solvents and benzene has a strong association with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
Over 64,000 people receive a pancreatic cancer diagnosis every year in the United States. The prognosis of this malignant disease is grim, as 42% of patients with localized pancreatic cancer and 11% of those with metastatic pancreatic cancer will live for five years or longer.
Since pancreatic cancer is often found when it has already spread to nearby organs, most people have a low survival rate. Up to 25% of cases are the result of tobacco smoking, and smokers are twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer than non-smokers.
Still, toxic exposure to benzene is also a significant risk factor for this disease. The following toxic agents may also contribute to the development of pancreatic cancer:
- certain dyes
- carbon tetrachloride
- methyl chloride
Regular exposure to benzene and chlorinated hydrocarbons is associated with a high risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study from the medical journal Cancer Causes & Control. Although the mechanisms by which these chemicals trigger pancreatic cancer are not completely understood at the moment, scientists believe they may reach the pancreas through the bloodstream or refluxed bile and subsequently cause damage to the organ. Furthermore, benzene exposure was associated with a higher frequency of K-ras mutations in pancreatic tumors, and a higher benzene level was also found in bile aspirates of pancreatic cancer patients than in those with benign biliary conditions. These harmful chemicals were present in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune during the last century.