Think you don’t need to worry about breast cancer if no one if your family has it? You are wrong. Most women who get breast cancer have none of the known risk factors, detailed on the American Cancer Society’s website: family history, genetic mutations, early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after age 55), and previous breast biopsies or chest radiation. Instead, their breast cancer may be due to a combination of controllable factors, such as being overweight, not exercising, taking hormone replacement therapy, and drinking an excess of alcohol. There are other risks that the American Cancer Society barely mentions. There is a possibility that due to certain “environmental estrogens,” those chemicals act in concert with your body’s own supply of estrogen to fuel the growth of breast tumors. There is a growing group of cancer physicians who believe there’s now enough evidence of a link to recommend that women reduce their exposure to these chemicals. Suzanne Snedeker, associate director of Cornell University’s program on breast cancer and environmental risk factors, feels strongly that women should take action and she has put up a series of videos on their website to educate women.
What are these environmental estrogens that encourage the growth of breast tumors? Although women are exposed to a very low level of these chemicals in any particular product, Snedeker says that collectively, the exposures could increase our breast cancer risk. And researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have documented widespread exposure to a variety, including bisphenol-A (found in hard plastics and the lining of cans), nonylphenol (found in cleaning products) and benzophenones (found in sunblocks, perfumes, soaps, and printer toner).
I’ll say this: I will pause and think about this article and will say no to heating plastic plates in the microwave or throwing printer cartridges in the trash.