Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer

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In the United States, starting from the first breast cancer case in 1930s to today, a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer increases to one eighth (Gray et al.). Continuously increasing breast cancer rate has caused a lot of concerns among not only ordinary people but also scientists. For decades, scientists have been working on the causes of breast cancer in order to find the corresponding methods of treatment. However, only about 25% of the breast cancer cases got explained (Brody et al.); till today, heredity, lifetime exposure to environmental estrogen (the female sex hormone), and the dietary fat are the only major known causes (“Cover Story: Breast Cancer and Environment”). For the 75% unexplained breast cancers cases, scientists, through various of researches, have come up with several hypothetical breast cancer causes, in which synthetic chemicals and environmental radiations are the major ones.
A lot of evidence have linked breast cancer to the environmental chemicals. Since WWII, a great deal of endocrine disrupters (synthetic chemicals) have entered the environment, accumulated through the food chain, and finally accessed into human bodies (Brody et al.) . According to Gray et al., environmental chemicals are carcinogenic because they often interrupt hormone-regulated pathways, especially that of the estrogen, and thus cause negative genetic variations. Experiments carried out by Gray et al. indicate that breast tissue synthesize estrogen from local hormone (androgenic hormones) using aromatase, whose activity rate is abnormally higher in breast cancer tissue than that of normal breast tissue. Theoretically, “estrogen promotes the growth cancer cells in vivo” (Mitra et al); the fact that women are more likely to ...

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