- Posted by jdavis on July 25, 2011
From the “Women, Health, & the Environment” conference (Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 14-15, 2008)
Sponsored by Greenpeace, Women’s Environmental and Development Organization (WEDO), and Cancer Prevention Coalition
Dr.Samuel Epstein summarized evidence on causes of breast cancer:
- Since the 1950’s scientific evidence has incriminated chlorinated organic pesticides as breast cancer risk factors because of their carcinogenicity, estrogenic effects, and accumulation in body fat, particularly the breast.
- The unregulated use of growth promoting hormonal cattle feed additives has resulted in near universal contamination of meat products. This results in life-long exposure to carcinogenic estrogens, and poses a major avoidable risk of breast cancer.
- Where you work increases your breast cancer risks. Excess breast cancers were found in the 1970’s in women working with vinyl chloride. There is similar evidence among petrochemical and electrical workers. In spite of more women working in such industries, NCI recently admitted that it has still not investigated these risks among working women.
- Where you live increases risks of breast cancer. Based on a review of 21 New Jersey counties, and more recently 339 nationwide counties, statistically significant associations were found between excess breast cancer mortality and residence in counties where hazardous waste sites are located.
- Living near a nuclear facility increases your chances of dying from breast cancer. Based on a nationwide survey of 268 counties within 50 miles of 51 military and civilian nuclear reactors, CPC member Dr. Jay Gould, showed that breast cancer mortality in these “nuclear counties” has increased at 10 times the national rate from 1950 to 1989. Counties near military reactors, such as Hanford, Oak Ridge and Savannah River, have registered the greatest increases, ranging from 27 to 200%. Dr. Gould charged NCI with “misrepresentation of such findings.”
- Premenopausal mammography increases your risk of breast cancer. Increases in breast cancer mortality have been consistently reported following repeated mammograms in younger women in six randomized controlled clinical trials over the last decade. Based on this evidence, NCI has recently withdrawn recommendations for pre-menopausal mammography. ACS, with financial support from Dupont and General Electric (both heavily invested in mammography equipment), and self-interested radiologists are still promoting this dangerous practice.
- Participation in the 1972 NCI/ACS reckless, high dose mammography experiments has increased breast cancer risks for the 400,000 women involved.
- Breast implants, particularly polyurethane foam, pose serious risks of breast cancer. Evidence on the carcinogenicity of polyurethane foam dates back to the early 1960’s. One breakdown product of polyurethane is 2,4-toluenediamine which was removed from hair dyes in 1971 following discovery of its carcinogenicity. Frank admission of these risks are found in internal NCI, FDA and industry documents.
- The Tamoxifen “chemoprevention” trial is a travesty! Since 1992, the cancer establishment recruited 16,000 healthy women in a Tamoxifen “chemoprevention” trial. NCI and ACS claimed in their patient consent forms that Tamoxifen could substantially reduce breast cancer risks, while trivializing risks of drug complications. There is strong evidence of Tamoxifen’s toxicity, including high risks of uterine, gastrointestinal and fatal liver cancer. “This trial is scientifically and ethically reckless, and participating institutions and clinicians are at serious risk of future malpractice claims,” warned Dr. Epstein.
Environment & Effects on Cancer
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is conducting and supporting a number of cutting-edge research studies to understand breast cancer risk factors in the environment. The studies aim to identify and assess risk factors, detect and quantify cancer-causing environmental exposures, explain mechanisms and pathways or processes that link exposures to cancer, and identify and evaluate genetic determinants of individual susceptibility to cancer. Investigators are also conducting research to develop or improve methods of surveillance, exposure measurements, and risk assessment that may be applicable in future epidemiologic studies of cancer.
- The National Cancer Institute supports a large research portfolio which identifies environmental risk factors for breast cancer and explores biological pathways that link exposures to cancer and the genetic factors that affect a person’s susceptibility to cancer.
- Several studies are exploring the residential and occupational breast cancer risk factors among women. These include agricultural workers, textile workers, and women who received heavy exposure to DDT from environmental contamination.
- Some long-term studies in populations such as atomic bomb survivors, patients with scoliosis, and radiation technologists are evaluating the effect of ionizing radiation on breast cancer risk.
The role of estrogen in breast cancer risk has raised the possibility that environmental contaminants that mimic estrogen might also be involved. The evidence on this remains inconclusive. Early studies with relatively small sample sizes indicated a positive association between several organochlorine compounds and breast cancer risk. More recent work has cast doubt on some of these findings. And the latest results indicate that there are links between some estrogenic compounds and breast cancer risk, for examplediethylstilbestrol and dioxin.