Breast common is extremely common worldwide and many of its symptoms show up with age. Even though early diagnosis and some precautionary measures can save one’s life, many people end up losing the battle to this deadly cancer. As scientists try to explore this disease further, they unfold more aspects that can act as a risk factor for breast cancer.
Recently, some researchers gathered to investigate the health effects of some commonly used chemicals. They specifically targeted breast cancer causes to find out the environmental chemicals that may lead to the disease. The scientists, Ruthann Rudel and Bethsaida Cardona investigated the data of 2,000 different chemicals that may prove hazardous to health. During this study, they gathered this data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency that tests the chemicals before they reach consumers.
This study appeared recently in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
According to the researchers, they found 296 different chemicals that can lead to hormonal imbalance. They conducted this study using cell cultures and found that these chemicals increase the levels of estrogen or progesterone. Moreover, 71 of these chemicals increased the levels of both hormones at the same time. These chemicals include flame retardants, pesticides, fungicides, and dyes.
Some chemicals from this list include:
A widely-used herbicide to control weeds in agriculture.
An insecticide used to control mosquitoes.
A commonly-used chemical to manufacture pharmaceuticals, dyes, and hydrogen peroxide.
An insecticide used to protect trees.
An increase in the levels of progesterone and estrogen is one of the major breast cancer causes. The researchers suggest that these chemicals may increase the risk of breast cancer by increasing these hormone levels. In this study, the researchers highlight the role of environmental chemicals that can lead to fatal diseases. These chemicals are also present in everyday-use products and accumulate in our environment over time.
Dr. Lauren Teras from the American Cancer Society said that the role of these chemicals in causing cancer is not very well understood. However, the concerns related to the exposure of these chemicals are legit and may cause detrimental effects over time.
Even though Dr. Teras does not deny the effects of chemicals, she also mentioned the considerably short half-life of these chemicals. According to Dr. Teras, these chemicals have a short life and cancer develops over a long period of time. Apart from the limited exposure to these chemicals, other factors such as physiologic characteristics also play a role in determining their impact.
Dr. Janie Grumly from the Margie Petersen Breast Center in Santa Monica, CA has a similar perspective to Dr. Teras. She mentioned that even though these chemicals show an impact on human cells, people should interpret this data with some caution. According to Dr. Grumly, this study takes place in a laboratory setting using cell cultures. These cell cultures are not equivalent to testing the chemicals on a human being. Therefore, it is a huge limitation when it comes to the results of this study.
Even though some experts believe that the low exposure to these chemicals may not lead to such drastic effects, this recent study opened new doors of research into the causes of breast cancer.