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Re: No link between breast cancer, pesticide
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- Subject: Re: No link between breast cancer, pesticide
- From: "Rebecca Leighton Katers" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 27 Aug 1997 15:02:26 +0000
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- Return-receipt-to: "Rebecca Leighton Katers" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm disturbed by the headlines and emphasis of
this news release. They are discounting the
importance of breast cancer for thousands of
women who have never breastfed babies.
As a childless woman, I find this offensive.
The headline should read that a link between
toxic exposures and breast cancer has been
CONFIRMED for some women.
>>PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
>>972330207 THU AUG.21,1997
>>BYLINE: WALLACE IMMEN
>> No link between cancer, pesticide
>> Breast cancer target of study
>>BY WALLACE IMMEN
>>Medical Reporter A new study concludes that there is no direct link between
>>high levels of pesticides or PCBs in the body and breast cancer, but that
>>breast feeding might decrease cancer risk. In general, women with breast
>>cancer were found to have no higher levels of pesticide compounds or PCBs
>>(polychlorinated biphenyls) than women who do not, Kirsten Moysich of the
>>State University of New York at Buffalo reported yesterday at an
>>environmental meeting in Taiwan.
>>The study involved women from two counties in western New York who lived
>>near a number of chemical factories as well as several toxic waste dumps,
>>including the infamous Love Canal.
>>"These results suggest that higher blood levels of organochlorides (such
>>as DDT, Mirex and PCBs) were a risk factor for breast cancer only for
>>women with no history of breast feeding," said Dr. Moysich, a specialist
>>in preventive medicine who was chief of the study team.
>>Women who had not breast fed had significantly higher levels of DDE, a
>>residue from DDT, in their blood and twice the rate of breast cancers as
>>women of similar age and habits who breast fed.
>>The study included 154 women with breast cancer and 192 healthy women of
>>similar age and background.
>>The link between cancer and pesticides was a major issue at last month's
>>World Conference on Breast Cancer held in Kingston, Ont. Speakers at the
>>meeting urged that more research be done, and the findings reported
>>yesterday suggest that it will not be easy getting the answers.
>>"We're learning it's not how much you're exposed to but how your body
>>responds to it. It appears there is a complex chain of events in how it
>>might affect breast-cancer risk," said John Vena, a specialist at the
>>Buffalo university's environmental-health program who was co-investigator
>>in the study.
>>Studies on animals have shown that organochlorides can have effects
>>similar to estrogen, the female hormone. Even though they were banned in
>>the 1970s, the substances persist in soil and water for years and get into
>>the body through vegetables, meats or fish that absorb them.
>>"They are fat-loving substances and they collect in the fatter parts of
>>the body, including breasts," Dr. Vena said.
>>While the body has processes that break down the substances over a period
>>of weeks or months, some of them remain stored long term in fat. Cancer
>>risk appears to rise only if the body is not efficient at eliminating them.
>>"The chief mechanism for eliminating them from breast tissue is lactation,
>>which flushes them from the system," Dr. Moysich concluded.
>>She noted that while the baby is exposed to the substances, the benefits
>>of breast feeding appear to outweigh any potential risks associated with
>>"But our study, and others, don't show an adverse effect for the general
>>population," Dr. Moysich added in an interview. "It is tempting to blame
>>environmental exposure to potential carcinogens for causing breast cancer.
>>Because there is little to be done about it, it eliminates the
>>responsibility for changing one's lifestyle or habits."
>>How much effect toxic substances that remain stored in fat have on cancer
>>formation is still a question. A recent study by the U.S. National Cancer
>>Institute indicated that pesticides stored in fat may pose a cancer risk
>>only if they are released from fat during dieting.
>>Dr. Vena noted that this first part of the Buffalo study found that
>>postmenopausal women who are obese tended to have higher levels of
>>pesticide residues in their blood, and a higher cancer risk.
>>However, a second part of the study that examined premenopausal women is
>>finding a higher risk of cancer among the thinnest women. That study will
>>not be complete until next year, Dr. Vena said.
>>The research is being conducted by staff of the Buffalo Department of
>>Social and Preventive Medicine, the Toxicology Research Center and the
>>National Cancer Institute.
Rebecca Leighton Katers
Clean Water Action Council of N.E. Wisconsin
2220 Deckner Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54302