Breast Cancer Research Needs More Focus on Environment: Report
No Family History: The Environmental Links to Breast Cancer
by Sabrina McCormick
No Family History presents compelling evidence of environmental links to breast cancer, ranging from everyday cosmetics to industrial waste. Sabrina McCormick weaves the story of one survivor with no family history into a powerful exploration of the big business of breast cancer. As drugs, pink products, and corporate sponsorships generate enormous revenue to find a cure, a growing number of experts argue that we should instead increase focus on prevention—reducing environmental exposures that have contributed to the sharp increase of breast cancer rates.
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Unlike family history, risk factors such as chemical exposure, obesity can be changed, experts say.
Efforts to prevent breast cancer need to focus more aggressively and coherently on environmental factors.
That’s the conclusion of a new report released Tuesday by a committee tasked in 2008 by the U.S. Congress to investigate the environment’s impact on breast cancer.
Chemical and radiation exposure, drugs and consumer products are among environmental factors addressed in the report, but so are less obvious factors connected to lifestyle and socioeconomic resources.
If researchers could identify specific factors in the environment, they could take steps to remove them from the environment and/or help people avoid them, said Michael Gould, a member of the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee, which prepared the report.
“This area of primary prevention and taking things out of the environment that might reduce the amount of breast cancer is not as bold as it could be,” Gould said.
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