Chemical Exposure Before 30 May Raise Breast Cancer Risk

Emerging research has found that occupational exposure to some specific <"">chemicals and pollutants is linked to a whopping three-fold chance of developing post-menopausal cancer, writes Science Daily. The risk is seen when the exposure occurs prior to a women reaching her mid-30s, says the research just published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

According to the research, exposure to synthetic fibers and petroleum products on-the-job, tended to result in the greatest risk, said Science Daily. The research team looked at over 1100 women. Of these, 556 received a breast cancer diagnosis in 1996-1997 in Montreal, Canada when they were between the ages of 50 and 75 and had gone through menopause, explained Science Daily. The remaining 613 women, who were diagnosed with other cancers, were matched for age and diagnosis date and served as the comparison group, Science Daily added.

The women’s employment history and chemical exposure levels were analyzed by another team of chemists and industrial hygienists. Some 300 substances to which the women were exposed were also reviewed, said Science Daily. The analysis revealed a link between some of these substances and occupational exposure to breast cancer risk versus the comparison group. The risk was highest for women who experienced exposures prior to age 36 and increased with every additional decade of exposure prior, noted Science Daily.

Women with occupational exposure to acrylic fibers experienced a seven-fold risk of breast cancer; women exposed to nylon fibers experienced a nearly two-fold risk. When tumors were analyzed by hormonal response, those women whose cancers responded to oestrogen, but not progesterone, saw about twice the likelihood of developing breast cancer for each 10-year timeframe in which they were exposed to monaromatic hydrocarbons—a by-product of crude oil—and acrylic and rayon fibers, wrote Science Daily. Also, women exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are found in petroleum products, before they were age 36, experienced a tripling of risk when tumors were responsive to oestrogen and progesterone, said Science Daily.

Although the authors noted that the findings could be attributable to chance, they did point out that findings are consistent with the prevailing theory that breast tissue experiences increased sensitivity to dangerous chemical when exposure takes place while the breast cells are active, which is typically before a women is in her 40s, explained Science Daily. Of note, the ongoing increases in breast cancer incidence could be connected to elements in the workplace and environment, specifically to specific chemicals, said Science Daily.

Previous studies, in addition to linking breast cancers to chemical exposure, have also linked the cancers to birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, caffeine, trans-fats, some specific osteoporosis medications, and alcohol, to name some. Also, we have been writing about a man raised at the Camp Lejeune Marine base who alleges that his breast cancer resulted from contaminated base water. This was not the first time allegations were made regarding contaminated water and cancer diagnoses linked to that particular base.

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