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Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Date:1/25/2009

Lifestyle factors and environmental hazards are included in the searchable site,,,,

SUNDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- If you want to learn more about the key risk factors for breast cancer, such as obesity, pollutants or smoking, a database can guide you to the available evidence that confirms or quells an association.

"Breast cancer is multifactorial. It would be rare for there to be a single environmental chemical that alone would be sufficient to cause an increase in breast cancer," said Dr. Robert Schneider, co-director of breast cancer research at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

"In many cases, an increased risk of breast cancer is quite small, and we don't yet know how each factor affects the risk of breast cancer," he said, explaining that it's similar to a puzzle. "We need to know how all of the pieces fit together, and this database begins to help us start assessing some of that."

The database, a joint project of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Environmental Factors and Breast Cancer Science Review project led by the Silent Spring Institute, includes information on 216 chemicals, diet, smoking, physical activity and weight that may play a role in the development of breast cancer.

Fewer than 100 chemical compounds have been identified as human carcinogens by the International Agency of Research on Cancer. However, that doesn't mean that all other chemicals are safe, just that they haven't been tested. And, an estimated 80,000 chemicals have been registered for commercial use in the United States, according to the database study, which was published in a recent issue of the journal Cancer.

Although many factors have been associated with breast cancer, Schneider said his top three would include the chemical bisphenol A, radiation exposure from CT scans and delayed first pregnancy.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogenic chemical found in man
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