As the oceans rise, so do your risks of breast cancer

(Jane E. McArthur/ The Conversation) — It is encouraging to see greater attention in the media to the issue of climate change and its effects on the life-support systems of the planet. The link between breast cancer and the environment, however, is being overlooked.

Premenopausal women exposed to high levels of air pollution have a 30 per cent increased risk for breast cancer, according to a paper in Environmental Epidemiology published by Paul Villeneuve, a professor of occupational and environmental health at Carleton University, and his research team last year.

This should trigger a wake-up call given that we tend to think of breast cancer as a disease of aging women.

In fact, the science of breast cancer tells us that “genetic susceptibility makes only a small to moderate contribution” to breast cancer. The known risk factors — such as family history, age, gender, ethnicity and hormones — account for only around three in 10 cases. (…)

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