Breast Cancer

Breast cancer iconBreast Cancer is more and more common

Worldwide, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in women. Despite decades of research, the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer continues to rise, particularly among women under 50 who have no family history of breast cancer. Between 1973 and 1998, breast cancer rates increased by more than 40%. Today, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is one in eight.

Like other chronic diseases, genes, behaviors and the environment all contribute to a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast cancer is caused by the interaction of genes and environmentPeople always say the same things about breast cancer. What’s new?

In the last year researchers have identified a link between workplace chemical exposures and increased breast cancer risk. The key finding of the six-year study was that young women working in the automotive plastics and food packing industry are five times more likely to have breast cancer than their neighbors working in other industries.

Researchers found that women who worked for 10 years in the automotive, agricultural, plastics, canning, and the casino, bar and racetrack sectors had elevated breast cancer risk. The highest risk factors – nearly 5 times higher than in the control – were for premenopausal women working in the automotive plastics and food-canning sectors.

In response, ChemHAT is adding a special focus on breast cancer as an occupational disease. A special icon for chemicals linked to breast cancer is being added to ChemHAT's chemical hazard information based on the work of the Silent Spring Institute, and new educational and organizing tools on Putting Breast Cancer Out of Work are being created.