Avoiding Breast Cancer: An Update

imagesScientists from four institutions have brought balance to a recent one-dimensional publication on breast cancer. (Referring to a special section on breast cancer in Science, p1451, March 28, 2014, that focuses exclusively on a genetic factor.) The scientists point out that, although the BRCA gene is highly important, it is not the only factor contributing to breast cancer. In fact, quoting the special section in Science, “Most cases of breast cancer have no inherited component.” Environmental factors are equally or more important causative factors. I quote from the scientists’ letter*.

Three compelling themes have emerged from studies of environmental factors.

  • Breast cancer is now recognized as a developmental disease, with windows of susceptibility across the life course, beginning in the womb, during puberty, and early reproductive years, and up to five years before diagnosis.
  • Laboratory studies reveal hundreds of common chemicals that activate relevant biological pathways, including:
    • Genotoxic chemicals that cause mammary tumors in rodents,
    • Hormone disruptors that promote tumor proliferation,
    • Developmental toxicants that alter mammary gland development in ways that latter affect lactation and cancer susceptibility.
  • Several U.S. reports show that suspect chemicals are widespread in air, water pollution, consumer products, house dust and air, and human tissues.

The letter concludes by pointing out that authoritative reports by the President’s Cancer Panel, the Institute of Medicine, and the Interagency Breast Cancer and the Environmental Research Coordinating Committee support these viewpoints.

You can lower the odds of breast cancer for yourself and your daughters. Use the tips offered in the previous blog post.

* Breast Cancer and Environmental Research, Julia Brody, Ph.D., Executive Director of Silent Spring Institute, Science Letters, Vol 344, May 9, 2014


About donlouis

The author has long had a keen interest in staying healthy and fit, and in doing whatever I can to keep the natural environment unpolluted and a healthy space for people and all animals. As a former Board Member of a municipal water district, I regularly had to deal with the issue of water quality. I first became aware of radiation hazards from toxic materials while working on uranium for nuclear reactors. During the 1960s I was tuned into the global hazard from Strontium 90 raining down from atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs. While working in the chemical industry in later years I became aware of the many forms of chemical contaminants entering the environment every day, and resolved to do something about it. I am able to make sense out of the voluminous descriptions of common toxic chemical because of my training in chemistry, with a Ph.D. degree and several decades of research and development work in the chemical industry. My training and experience enables me to present to readers reliable and current information on the topic of chemical hazards in the environment, and their threats to human health. All my life I have loved hiking and camping in nature. Skiing, river kayaking, and tennis have been my favorite physical activities. Nature photography is my artistic passion.
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