What Women Need To Know About Environmental Causes of Cancer
Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 25, 2008
What Women Need To Know About Environmental Causes of Cancer — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)
Last week the Breast Cancer Fund released it’s State of the Evidence Report for 2008. The 2008 report, provides the most comprehensive listing to-date of chemicals linked to breast cancer. It also provides a much more complex picture of breast cancer causation than traditionally accepted, one in which timing, mixtures and dose of environmental exposures interact with genes and lifestyle factors.
In conjunction with the release of this report, they also held a blogger-only telephone conference to discuss the report. The informative conference featured Janet Gray, Ph.D., and Breast Cancer Fund Executive Director Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., and for an hour they took questions from bloggers on the latest studies linking environmental exposures to breast cancer.
While each study, chemical and exposure source alone doesn’t tell the whole story, looking at them together allows us to better understand how to prevent the disease. Learn more about major emerging themes in breast cancer causation through the links below.
Sources of Exposure…
Learn more about where and how we come into contact with chemicals and radiation linked to increased breast cancer risk. Then learn what can be done to reduce those exposures.
Chemicals of Concern by Type…
The evidence is divided into three main sections, examining the scientific links to breast cancer within each category. Click on each category for an overview and list of chemical fact sheets.
There is also a Moving Forward section that outlines state and federal policy recommendations…
Together with other breast cancer prevention, women’s health, environmental health and environmental justice advocates, the Breast Cancer Fund seeks to make policy changes—in states and nationally—that will mean less breast cancer for our children and grandchildren.
If you would like to listen to the one hour conference call discussing these new findings, it was made into a podcast at Ready Talk.
Here is some of what other participants in the conference are blogging about…
According to Dr. Gray and Ms. Rizzo, two themes emerged in examining the evidence related to environmental risks and breast cancer:
- Mixtures: In real life, we are not exposed to single chemicals but chemical cocktails. There is growing evidence that supports the need to further study the interaction between chemicals, radiation, and genes.
- Timing of exposure. Scientists now know that the timing, duration, and pattern of exposure are at least as important as the dose. Mammary cells are more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of hormones, chemicals, and radiation during early stages of development, from the prenatal period through puberty and adolescence, and on until the first full-term pregnancy.
A good place to start would be to throw away those plastic containers you use for warming up foods in the microwave. Switch to glass containers. It’s a proven fact that toxic chemicals contained in plastic leach into food during the warming process.
And if you’ve been using plastic baby bottles–STOP.
Following is a small section of the report regarding plastics.
The three plastics that have been shown to leach toxic chemicals when heated, worn or put under pressure are polycarbonate (leaches bisphenol A), polystyrene (leaches styrene) and PVC (leaches phthalates).
Bisphenol A is used in the linings of cans, baby bottles, sports water bottles and dental sealants. The evidence about bisphenol A and its many effects on human health is convincing and growing. Studies funded by the chemical industry say it’s harmless; non-industry studies show it’s a powerful hormone-disruptor linked to breast cancer.
Equipped with this strong foundation of science, together we have much work to do. This release is really a beginning, not an end. We’ll keep you posted on the reach and impact of State of the Evidence 2008.
When Olivia’s “Cruise for Our Cause” heads to the Caribbean on March 30, 2008 it will be the first cruise experience dedicated to breast cancer, women’s health awareness and research funding. So it’s timely that we catch up with Dr. Susan Love, President and Medical Director of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. Her name and life work is synonymous with the breast cancer advocacy movement and it’s an absolute honor to have her participate in our money talk.