Selenium & Cancer

Ralph L. Samson 73071.20 at COMPUSERVE.COM
Fri Jun 25 11:14:38 EST 1999

I recently read about the big new study of the effect of Selenium on cancer.
It will involve 52000 subjects in seven countries.  This was prompted by the
results from an earlier study that was looking for a benefit for skin
cancer.  It turned out there was no benefit for skin cancer but considerable
benefits for many other cancers.  This was puzzling since the benefit from
selenium in supplying the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase should affect
all cancers.  Another study, by Will Taylor at the University of Georgia
School of Pharmacy, showed that selenium prevented the spread of HIV from
infected cells.  This suggests that a similar mechanism might be involved
with cancer.  That is, selenium in a cancerous cell might block the spread
of the cancer to other cells.  Thus, it would not be truly prevention or
a cure, but limiting cancer to a very small region might be almost as good.
But what about the skin?  Perhaps the fact that skin sheds permits cancer
to spread more readily.  Could this be offset in some way?  Perhaps using
a cream would reduce shedding and putting an absorbable form of selenium
in the cream might give better results.  We'll have to wait for the results.
Regards, Ralph L. Samson

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