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BREAST CANCER VIDEO: Chemical Exposure at Work Connected to Post Menopausal Breast Cancer Risk
BREAST CANCER VIDEO: Chemical Exposure at Work Connected to Post Menopausal Breast Cancer Risk

(April 1, 2010 - Insidermedicine)

Occupational exposure to several agents, particularly before age 36, can markedly increase the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer, according to research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Here are some recommendations for breast cancer screening from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

•    Women aged 40 to 49 years should have screening mammography every 1 to 2 years.

•    Women aged 50 years and older should have annual screening mammography.

•    Despite a lack of definitive data for or against breast self-examination, breast self-examination has the potential to detect palpable breast cancer and can be recommended.

Researchers out of Robert-Sauvé Occupational Health Research Institute in Montreal conducted a case-control study in 1996 and 1997. Cases were 556 women aged 50 to 75 with incident malignant breast cancer. They were matched for age, date of diagnosis, and hospital with 613 women with other cancers. Chemists and industrial hygienists translated participants’ job histories into exposure to about 300 agents.

After adjusting for the usual risk factors for breast cancer, the risk for the developing this condition was increased with occupational exposure to several agents, especially if the exposure occurred before age 36. Most notably, each 10-year increment in duration of exposure before age 36 to acrylic fibers was associated with an odds ratio (OR) for developing breast cancer of 7.69. For a similar exposure to nylon fibers, the OR was 1.99. For estrogen-positive and progesterone-negative tumors, the OR at least doubled for each 10-year increase in exposure to monoaromatic hydrocarbons as well as to acrylic and rayon fibers. OR also doubled for 10-year increases in exposure before age 36 to organic solvents that metabolize into reactive oxygen species and to acrylic fibers. Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum sources was associated with a threefold increased risk for developing estrogen- and progesterone-positive tumors.

Today’s research suggests that an increased index of suspicion for breast cancer is appropriate for postmenopausal women with job histories associated with long-term exposure to certain chemical substances.

 
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