Breast Cancer May be Triggered by Household Chemicals
Does early exposure to chemicals contained in some common household
products increase a woman's chances of developing breast cancer later
in life? UAB has received $2 million from the National Institutes of
Health to study this elusive piece of the breast cancer puzzle.
"Exposure to environmental chemicals during a female's prenatal and
pre-teen periods of development may play an important role in cancer
susceptibility later in life," says UAB pharmacologist/toxicologist
Coral Lamartiniere, Ph.D.
Researchers use animal models to determine how certain compounds
affect breast cell development. They study common compounds found in
products such as PVC piping, plastic wrapping and canned foods.
new findings are published, woman may choose to stick to a diet high in
soy which may help protect against breast cancer. Studies show that the
risk of breast cancer is six times higher for American women than for
women who live in Asian countries where soy foods are commonly eaten.
Soy foods - soy milk, tofu and soy nuts - contain isoflavones, a
weak form of estrogen that mimics naturally occurring estrogen.
Genistein, a specific isoflavone, had been thought to reduce the risk
of breast cancer.
Isoflavones have become so popular that they are now available as
diet supplements. But research on the effectiveness and safety of
isoflavone supplements is contradictory. Some studies suggest that
taking isoflavones may help prevent breast cancer. Other studies
suggest that consuming genistein may carry some risk of actually
promoting breast cancer.
Soy foods have been eaten safely for centuries and can help improve
cholesterol levels and promote heart health. But for now, no one knows
how beneficial or safe it is to use isoflavones as a diet supplement.