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Why isn’t it Breast Cancer Prevention Month?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Shouldn’t it be Breast Cancer Prevention Month?

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month neglects to inform women how they can reduce their risks of breast cancer, says Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., and Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., in the Huffington Post article “Breast Cancer Unawareness Month: Rethinking Mammograms.”

Epstein and Bertell say the evidence is clear that premenopausal mammography poses significant risks of breast cancer:

The routine practice of taking two films annually for each breast results in approximately 0.5 rad (radiation absorbed dose) exposure. This is about 500 times the dose from a single chest X-ray and is broadly focused on the entire chest rather than narrowly on the breast. This is also 25 times higher than is allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency for whole-body radiation from local nuclear industries (0.02 rad). Moreover, the breast is the most sensitive organ to ionizing radiation.

A great deal is known about other avoidable causes of cancer, which remain ignored by the American Cancer Society, Epstein and Bertell say. These include:

  • Prolonged use of the Pill and estrogen replacement therapy.
  • Prolonged consumption of milk from cows injected with a genetically engineered growth hormone to increase milk production. This milk is contaminated with high levels of a natural growth factor, which increases risks of breast cancer by up to seven-fold.
  • High consumption of meat, as it is contaminated with potent natural or synthetic estrogens. These are routinely implanted in cattle before entry into feedlots, about 100 days prior to slaughter, to increase muscle mass and profits for the meat industry.
  • Prolonged exposure to a wide range of hormonal ingredients in conventional cosmetics and personal care products.
  • Living near hazardous waste sites, petrochemical plants, power lines, and nuclear plants.

Take a look at the article for information the risks of premenopausal mammograms and how the American Cancer Society is strongly linked to the mammography industry.

Epstein is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Bertell is past president of International Institute of Concern for Public Health.

For more information on breast cancer prevention, see the website of the Breast Cancer Fund. Its new report on chemical and radiation links to breast cancer is must reading. The report catalogues the growing evidence linking breast cancer to synthetic hormones in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and meat; pesticides in food; solvents in household cleaning products; BPA in food containers; flame retardants in furniture; and radiation from medical treatments.


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