S. Venturi


Worldwide, both the incidence and death rates of pancreatic cancer (PC) are increasing. While the exact cause of PC is not known, certain risk factors are associated with the disease, including tobacco smoking, obesity and diabetes. The present author studied associations between radioactive cesium (137Cs) and increases in PC. There is a correlation between the geographical map of the incidence of and mortality from PC and the map of nuclear plants, related nuclear accidents and nuclear tests with consequent radioactive fallout, of which 137Cs, with its half-life of about 30 years, is one of the most relevant components. Published data in medical literature at World, European and Italian levels are reviewed and compared. In human and animal bodies, cesium ions behave like potassium ion (K+). Cs+ is absorbed from plants and fruit competitively with K+ and is localized mainly inside cells. 137Cs is present in the environment for at least 10-20 times its half-life, i.e. about 300-600 years. Autoradiographic studies in mice have shown that 137Cs is concentrated in significant quantities in the pancreas, in particular in exocrine cells, where most PCs featuring high malignancy originate. The pancreas and the salivary glands secrete cesium into the intestine thus eliminating about 14% of absorbed Cs with the feces, whereas the remaining 86% is eliminated by kidney with the urine. Some previous studies between radioactive Cs and tumors in general have been also reported.


Radioactive Cesium, Pancreatic Cancer, Nuclear Accidents and Tests, Epidemiology

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