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Air pollution and breast cancer?

Lips with smoke
Lips with smoke

A recent article the UK Telegraph includes a list of steps women might take to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating less saturated fat, reducing alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy body weight, considering genetic testing, breastfeeding, and having a baby before the age of 35 were all included. The author informs us that we need not worry about stress, food additives, pesticides, or antiperspirants since: “There’s no evidence that any of these increase the risk”.

According to a recent CTV article, a new study from Montreal, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, links the risk of breast cancer to traffic-related air pollution. The study, a collaborative effort by researchers from the Research Institute of the MUHC, McGill University and Université de Montreal, was funded by research grants from the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Although the study did not prove cause and effect, it did find an increased incidence of breast cancer in areas with higher levels of air pollution, a link definitely worthy of further investigation. In order to reduce their risk of breast cancer, women are being advised to quit smoking, have babies by the age of 35, and reduce their intake of saturated fat. They are also being advised not to worry about food additives or pesticides. While there may be no proven link between breast cancer and pesticides or addtives, research suggests that other diseases, possibly other forms of cancer, may be the result of consuming certain pesticides and food additives.

Reducing air pollution in and around Montreal may not be such a bad idea. Science is telling us that until proven scientifically, a definitive link cannot be made and we consumers, in the name of keeping hope alive, want to believe. However it is the possibility of one day hearing that scientists have found a link that encourages us to cycle, walk, and use public transport. When it comes to food, it is that same possibility that encourages us to keep it simple, local, fresh, flash frozen, and certified organic.

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  • Profile picture of Carol Roach
    Carol Roach 4 years ago

    even though it is only showing a correlation and more studies have to be done this is important to think about

    Montreal health examiner
    Montreal mental health examiner
    Montreal women's issues examiner

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