Blog | Wednesday, December 7, 2011

QD: News Every Day--Lifestyle trumps environmental causes for breast cancer prevention

Lifestyle choices remain the key to breast cancer prevention, concluded an Institute of Medicine review.

Women may be able to reduce their risk for breast cancer by avoiding unnecessary medical radiation, avoiding combination estrogen-progestin menopausal hormone therapy, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and avoiding tobacco, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

There is consistent scientific evidence for these steps, but their overall impact is not known. The report acknowledges the difficulty in parsing out environmental risk factors in a complex disease such as breast cancer. Its advice was that a healthy lifestyle helps in general, even in women with genetic predispositions to breast cancer, and not only with cancer but with other diseases.

The report continued that there's a possible link to breast cancer from exposure to benzene, 1,3-butadiene and ethylene oxide, found in some workplace settings and in gasoline fumes, vehicle exhaust and tobacco smoke.

There's no known link between breast cancer and either hair dyes or mobile devices, and insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion about bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastics. There's also insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about potential risks from pesticides, ingredients in cosmetics and dietary supplements. Chemical ingredients in cosmetics, dietary supplements, and other products undergo only very limited testing before they are put on the market.