BREAST CANCER RISKS – EMERGING AND UNPROVEN
There’s always ongoing research on what may cause cancer. Studies to date have not yet proven for sure that the following factors can increase your risk of breast cancer but certain observation may lead scientist to think there may be relationship between the two.
- 1.Light exposure: It is thought that women who have night shift work may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. This may be due to the disruption in their hormones (mainly melatonin) from light exposure at night.
- 2.Diet: Studies have not proven that diet high in fat increases breast cancer. However, the incidence of breast cancer is lower in countries where diets are low in fat, so we think there may be a link between the two. This would make sense as a weight surplus has been linked to an increased in risk of breast cancer.
- 3. Exposure to hormones disruptors: There is more and more concern that certain chemicals in cosmetics and sunscreens, food, plastics and water, such as parabens, phthalates, antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, bisphenol A can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Except for the first point, most of these factors could partially be controlled by choices we make everyday. Again, some small steps like cutting processed food and using more natural products can be easy to make. In the end, we don’t know if it will help but it certainly won’t hurt.
- Now, let’s debunk once and for all all the myths concerning certain things that are believe to cause breast cancer. The following is a list of many things that patients often report as worrying them and to date, none have been proven to increase your risk of breast cancer.
- 1. Antiperspirant – There is little evidence these are linked to an increased risk in breast cancer. Nor does shaving armpits. There is a belief that shaving causes nicks from which chemicals used in antiperspirant can penetrate the skin and cause toxin build-up in the breast. This is not true. The reason you are asked not to wear antiperspirant for a mammogram is that some can contain aluminium that can show up in the films and interfere with films interpretation
- 2.Implants – Breast implants, whether silicone or saline do not increase the risk of breast cancer. There is evidence however that textured breast implants may increase the risk of BIA-ALCL, which is a type of lymphoma. For more information on this topic, check the website for our video and blogpost on this.
- 3. Bras – There is no scientific proof that bras with or without wires can cause lymphatic blockage or increase the risks of breast cancer.
- 4. Eating soy: Soy has a bad rap because of it’s isoflavones – which is a plant-based chemical which structure’s resembles that of estrogen so there was a fear it could act as an estrogen in the body. But there is a stream of study that showed that eating soy does not increase the risk of breast cancer but could also reduce it. There is a difference between whole food soy such as tofu, edamame, miso or soy milk than the processed soy such as in supplements, protein powder or substitute, where the soy has been stripped of it’s fiber and is now more concentrated. Researchers are uncertain how much of soy you need to have an estrogen effect and switch on the genes to transform cells into cancer cells. It is also not proved that eating a lot of soy will protect you from developing breast cancer. And if you had breast cancer, eating a moderate amount of soy does not increase your risk of recurrence. Patients should however avoid soy supplements. Generally speaking, 1-3 serving of soy a day is ok for any woman.
We hope this this information helps you with making choices for your breast (and overall) health.