The Chemical Makeup of Breast Cancer
The possible correlation between the disease and chemicals in personal care products
March 13, 2006 12:47 PM
The large number of toxic components in everyday products like cosmetics may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Around 40 students gathered in the Creative Arts building, room 106 to hear the Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) Jeanne Rizzo give a lecture on breast cancer on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is one of a series of weekly lectures organized by the health and holistic health departments at SF State on various health topics.
“We have a vision of the world, and our vision is to live in a world without fear,” said Rizzo. “Fear of losing our breasts to breast cancer.”
According to Rizzo, there are 100,000 toxic chemicals in use today in the U.S., and less than 10 percent have been tested to find out their impact on people's health. As an unsolved epidemic, breast cancer has been known to affect women in industrialized countries primarily in North America, she added.
The BCF (an organization dedicated to finding the environmental connections to the causes of the disease) along with Breast Cancer Action (BCA) published a report entitled "State of the Evidence 2006,” which analyzed nearly 350 scientific studies on environmental links to breast cancer.
The report stated that phthalates, which are common in personal care products, were shown to significantly increase cell proliferation in human breast cancer cells. Scientists also found that certain phthalates inhibited the effectiveness of tamoxifen, one of the most widely prescribed breast cancer treatments, in killing MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Rizzo added that although stress and genetics are factors of breast cancer, harmful chemicals in hair products, cosmetics, nail polish, and plastics are leading factors to breast cancer. She advised students to get involved in using cosmetics that do not promote toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, which is common in nail polish and blush.
Students said they were surprised about the myriad of chemicals used in their daily products.
“To have this information will make it a lot easier for me to tell my mom and sister, and hopefully cause some real change,” said Adam Kistner, 21, undeclared major.
Breast cancer effects one in seven women, according to Sally LaMont, N.D., a doctor of natural medicine, and
"There’s this runaway train and one in seven women is standing in front of it,” said LaMont, who serves as moderator for the weekly lectures.
Professor of Holistic Health and Health Education Rick Harvey stressed the importance of early detection.
"Think of cancer as unregulated cell growth," Harvey said. "Depending on the type of cell, unregulated growth can become deadly very rapidly, or take a long time to have a health impact if untreated."
Younger women in their 20’s are less likely to find out they have breast cancer since mammograms do not detect the cancer at an early age, according to Rizzo. She added that the disease can go undetected in young women due to the density of the breast and tissue.
Other factors such as obesity, birth control pills, and radiation of many kinds including X-rays and CT scans also put young women and men at high risks of breast cancer as well, Rizzo noted.
Rizzo and LaMont offered a few words of advice that may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Rizzo advised daily exercise, a healthy diet, monthly self-examinations, and daily awareness of the chemicals involved in personal products, and LaMont recommended a holistic approach to preventing breast cancer, such as eating vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and drinking two cups of green tea daily.
For more information on the BCF, visit www.breastcancerfund.org.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University