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Ecological research indicates there is a connection between environmental factors and breast cancer. From preservatives in our lipstick to flame retardants in our sofas, from plasticizers in our water bottles to pesticides on our fruits and vegetables there are over 85,000 synthetic chemicals on the market today.
As the use of chemicals has risen, so have rates of breast and other cancers.
70% of breast cancer have none of the known risk factors. But known risk factors, like late menopause, having children late in life, and family history of cancer are present in only 30% of breast cancer cases.
- Estrogen - A hormone closely linked with the development of breast cancer. Numerous synthetic chemicals, called “xenoestrogens,” act like estrogen in our bodies which come from common weed killers and pesticides, plastic additives or by-products, ingredients in spray paints and paint removers, and polyvinyl chloride used extensively in the manufacture of food packaging, medical products, appliances, cars, toys, credit cards, and rainwear.
- Ionising radiation- Exposure to high levels of ionising radiation increases the risk of many cancers, the risks associated with mammograms and other x-rays are very small. We can be exposed to ionising radiation through: From Natural sources like the ground, food and cosmic rays. An atomic bomb explosion or radiation accident.Medical x-rays (including mammograms) and radiotherapy
- Radiotherapy treatment - Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be treated by radiotherapy in chest area. This increases the chance of breast cancer for women who received radiotherapy during their developmental (teenage) years.
- Working at night- Particularly women who work night shifts, may have a slightly increased chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not.
- Some studies have shown a lack of darkness may reduce the production of a hormone called melatonin, which might normally play a role in suppressing the growth of breast cancer.Shift work might also lead to unhealthy behaviour that could independently increase the risk of cancer, such as being overweight and not being physically active
- Stress - Number of studies have looked at the direct and indirect links between stress and breast cancer.
There is scientific evidence to some extent to suggest the following factors may affect the chances of developing breast cancer. More research is needed before we can be sure they are definitely linked to the disease.
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