Could What You Wear Up Your Risk for Breast Cancer?
10/2/2013 11:42:00 AM
It’s real. 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Worse, African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer, as we tend to have more aggressive tumors. It is so imperative that we self-examine our breasts and know our risk factors. The CDC list these potential risk factors for a woman to get breast cancer:
Reproductive Risk Factors
Being younger when you first had your menstrual period.
Starting menopause at a later age.
Being older at the birth of your first child.
Never giving birth.
Long-term use of hormone-replacement therapy.
Other Risk Factors
Personal history of breast cancer or some non-cancerous breast diseases.
Family history of breast cancer (mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, or son).
Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.
Dense breasts External Web Site Icon by mammogram.
Being overweight (increases risk for breast cancer after menopause).
Having changes in the breast cancer-related genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
Drinking alcohol (more than one drink a day).
Not getting regular exercise.
Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, as most women have some risk factors but may not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer. But another concern? Our environmental factors.
Oh, yes what’s in the air out there can increase our risk for this disease. Certain toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis from what we wear, smell, etc. have been linked to breast cancer. Particularly, a group of synthetic chemicals called endocrine disruptors. They imitate or block the body's own hormones, including estrogen. While we need estrogen, chronically high circulating levels can cause cancer growth. So what does that mean? Cutting down on endocrine disruptor exposure can cut your risks. Women’s Health Magazine talks on this in the article, “4 Ways to Lower Your Environmental Breast Cancer Risks”:
Be a conscious consumer. "If you don't know what a chemical ingredient is or does, or if you Google it and still can't understand it, don't buy that product," says Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., of the Breast Cancer Fund. Keep a special eye out for bisphenol a (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor used mostly in plastics and the lining of canned foods.
Take inventory of your toiletries. Many lotions, potions, and creams contain preservatives and fragrances made with endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, says Julia G. Brody, Ph.D., executive director of the Silent Spring institute. Cross-check your goods on databases such as Silent Spring's Too Close to Home or the Environmental Working group's Skin Deep.
Rethink pesticides. Yes, they're also major endocrine disruptors, says Philip Landrigan, M.D., chairman of preventive medicine at the Mount Sinai hospital in New York. Use baits instead of bug-killer spray. And eat organic when you can; people who do have 90 percent fewer pesticides in their bodies.
Vote. "Tell your elected officials you want better chemical-safety laws," says Brody. Stricter regulations could lead to fewer endocrine disruptors in the things you're around every day.
Be informed. Be proactive. Be an advocate for breast cancer awareness.