Sunday, October 9, 2016

The New Breast Cancer Prevention Routine: How Chemicals and Timing Play a Role and How You Can Help Your Own Children Decrease Their Risk: A 5 Day Series

Think breast cancer prevention is only for adults?  Think again.
photo credit: Annamaria Zampona de Quintero

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.   For an increasing number of people, this disease hits close to home.  It seems, almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by this disease.  For me, both my mother and aunt are breast cancer survivors.  The disease scares me and scares just about every woman I know.

And with good reason.  A woman is diagnosed  with breast cancer every two minutes. In the 1960s, a woman’s lifetime risk for breast cancer was 1 in 20. Today it is 1 in 8.

So, what are you actively doing to prevent breast cancer in yourself and in your children (especially daughters) ?

What?  Can we really do something to help decrease our children's chances of developing breast cancer? The answer is:  yes we can.

Hopefully, your breast cancer prevention routine includes:  healthy eating, monthly breast self exams and  exercise.  But, science today, points at one major step in our daily routines that is being ignored by the majority of women for breast cancer prevention:   reducing our exposure to daily use chemicals already linked to breast cancer.  In fact, back in 2010 the President’s Cancer Panel reported that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated [and] . . . the American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.

What causes breast cancer? 
There are many contributing risk factors for breast cancer.  Genetics, one of the most well known, is believed to account for about 10% of all breast cancer cases. Other well known risk factors include, diet and exercise, delayed or lack of childrearing, smoking, hormone replacement therapies etc. Interestingly over half the woman diagnosed with breast cancer in the US have no known risk factors.  Leading the pack among the “other” culprits are environmental toxins, including some of the most common chemical we are exposed to on a daily basis through food, air, beauty products, fragrance, plastics etc. 

The good news?  It is refreshing and empowering to know that there are things you can do to lower your risk for breast cancer.  Even better news? That we, as mothers, can help decrease our daughter's  (and son's since breast cancer affects men and women) risk of developing breast cancer, while in turn automatically helping ourselves out too.

Prevention is key:   Avoiding certain environmental chemicals should and needs to be taken seriously as part of what any woman does to prevent breast cancer ( Four authoritative panels have pointed to this, to the need to further study of environmental chemicals as a promising direction for prevention: Cogliano et al. 2011; IBCERCC 2013; Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2011; President’s Cancer Panel 2010].

How can a chemical increase our chances of breast cancer: Hormones and Timing

The way by which certain chemicals influence a persons risk of developing breast cancer is tied to their lifetime estrogen levels.  The longer you have estrogen in your body, the higher your risk of developing breast cancer.

Today, girls are hitting puberty at a younger age, exposing them to surges in estrogen  from 3 to 7 years earlier than was previously the case.  The trigger for this earlier puberty trend have been attributed  to increase in obesity as well as to increased exposure to endocrine disputing chemicals.

The timing of the exposure to endocrine disputing chemicals also has a lot to do with how big an impact these chemicals can  have on a person.  There are periods of development called " windows of susceptibility"  where the breast is especially sensitive to environmental exposures; these are during fetal development (when the organ is formed), and during puberty and pregnancy ( both during pregnancy and after lactation, when the breast tissue remodels, can create an environment in which the mammary gland is sensitive to environmental factors that can lead to cancer).  Sometimes the impact of a chemical is seen at birth,  but for chemicals linked to breast cancer, often times  it remains hidden until years even decades later (ie.  when breast cancer is diagnosed).

Thus, a key way to protect your daughters comes down to decreasing their exposure to estrogen mimicking chemicals from the moment of conception and throughout puberty (early childhood - puberty is ideal) as well as during a womans pregnancy. 


If excess estrogen is linked to breast cancer, then it makes sense to avoid chemicals that trick our bodies into thinking they are estrogen, ie: estrogen mimicking chemicals.

Which are the most common and potentially harmful estrogen mimicking chemicals linked to breast cancer and where are they found?   

Benzene and Butadiene

This week we will tackle and explore how these chemicals are linked to breast cancer and how you can avoid them. 

Come back daily as we explore these 4 daily use chemicals linked to breast cancer and easy ways to decrease their presence in your daily routine.

1 comment :

  1. Has anyone sampled the various product mentioned here, and can they tell which one is the best?
    Best Ergonomic Executive Office Chair!