By Dr. Mercola
New research has detected the presence of paraben esters in 99 percent of breast cancer tissues sampled.1 The study examined 40 women who were being treated for primary breast cancer. In 60 percent of cases, five of the different esters were present.
Parabens are chemicals with estrogen-like properties, and estrogen is one of the hormones involved in the development of breast cancer. The study notes that:2
"Variation was notable with respect to individual paraben esters, location within one breast and similar locations in different breasts.
Overall median values in nanograms per gram tissue for the 160 tissue samples were highest for n-propylparaben and methylparaben; levels were lower for n-butylparaben, ethylparaben and isobutylparaben...The source of the paraben cannot be identified, but paraben was measured in the 7/40 patients who reported never having used underarm cosmetics in their lifetime."
Sources and Dangers of Parabens
Deodorants and antiperspirants are some of the primary sources of parabens, but the fact that even those who reportedly never used them still had parabens in their breast tissue clearly demonstrates that these chemicals, regardless of what products they're added to, can, and apparently will, accumulate in breast tissue.
It's important to recognize that whatever you spread on your skin can be absorbed into your body and potentially cause serious damage over time, as this research demonstrates.
(To learn more about the potential toxicity of your cosmetics, I urge you to review the EWG's extensive Skin Deep Report.)3 Parabens inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds, and are used as preservatives. On the label they may be listed as:
Methyl paraben Propyl paraben Isobutyl paraben Ethyl paraben Butyl paraben E216
These chemicals are commonly used in:
Deodorants and antiperspirants Shampoos and conditioners Shaving gel Toothpaste Lotions and sunscreens Make-up / cosmetics Pharmaceutical drugs Food additives
Studies have shown that parabens can affect your body much like the estrogens, which can lead to diminished muscle mass, extra fat storage, and male gynecomastia (breast growth). Other studies besides the one featured here have also linked parabens to breast cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked methyl parabens in particular to metabolic, developmental, hormonal, and neurological disorders, as well as various cancers.
How to Avoid Some of the Most Common Culprits
Avoiding parabens and other harmful chemicals requires becoming an avid label reader. Beware that products boasting "all-natural" labels can still contain harmful chemicals, including parabens, so make sure to check the list of ingredients.
Another alternative is to make your own personal care products. In many cases it's much easier than you might think. Michael DeJong, environmentalist and author of books on green living has a book called Clean Cures,4 which is chockfull of affordable, easy, natural remedies you can prepare at home to treat ordinary ailments with items you have in your own refrigerator and pantry.
When it comes to deodorants, one option is to skip it altogether. Simple soap and water has served me quite well. For some additional odor-protection, try a pinch of baking soda mixed with a small amount of water.
Beware: There's a Brand NEW Class of Cancer-Causing "Estrogens..."
Recent research has also confirmed the existence of a previously unknown class of cancer-causing materials that can be found in thousands of consumer products. Some of them are even added to supplements and foods as "nutrients". These estrogen-mimicking compounds are: metals.
Yes, a broad range of metals have been shown to act as "metalloestrogens" with the potential to add to the estrogenic burden of the human breast, thereby increasing the risk of breast cancer. The following metals have been identified as being capable of binding to cellular estrogen receptors and then mimicking the actions of physiological estrogens:5
Aluminum Antimony Arsenite Barium Cadmium Chromium Cobalt Copper Lead Mercury Nickel Selenite Tin Vanadate
According to GreenMedInfo:6
"...[E]xposure to sodium selenite (and sodium selenate) is difficult to avoid, as it is the primary source of supplemental selenium in mass market vitamins, foods, beverages, etc. The same is true for inorganic forms of chromium, copper, nickel, tin and and vanadium, which you will find on the labels of many mass market multivitamins. Another daily source of metalloestrogen exposure for millions of consumers is aluminum-based antiperspirants."
Cadmium Linked to Higher Breast Cancer Risk
A recent study published in the journal Cancer Research indicates that women whose diets contain higher levels of cadmium are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Cadmium is a heavy metal long known to be carcinogenic, and, as you can see by its inclusion on the list above, it's also been identified as a metal that can bind to estrogen receptors, effectively mimicking the female hormone estrogen. The study found that among close to 56,000 women, those with the highest intakes of cadmium were 21 percent more likely to develop breast cancer.7
Cadmium leaches into crops from fertilizers, or when rainfall or sewage sludge deposit it onto farmland. Potatoes and whole grains are a couple of the primary sources cadmium, but it's also present in air pollution from the burning of fossil fuel, and can therefore also be inhaled. According to the Los Angeles Times:8
"The study offers new evidence in a large human population that environmental chemicals that mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen may contribute to women's risk of certain cancers, including endometrial and breast cancers... The finding comes just three months after the Institute of Medicine, a prestigious body of independent biomedical researchers, concluded that a host of other factors — most within a woman's power to control, such as obesity and hormone-replacement medication — were the most important sources of breast cancer risk.
The report they're referring to is Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach by the Institute of Medicine (IOM)9 issued in December of last year, which discusses environmental impacts on breast cancer risk.
The report is a step in the right direction, as it recognizes the need to further investigate the role environmental toxins play in the development of breast cancer. This is important, because while individuals can do their best to avoid harmful chemicals, if we really want to quell the rise in cancers of all kinds, we must remove chemicals linked with cancer from consumer products, manufacturing, and other sources of exposure. Furthermore, the IOM report also identifies ionizing radiation as one of the primary contributors to breast cancer, which of course includes mammograms...
Could More Women Be Harmed than Helped with Mammography?
Mammograms expose a woman's body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray, which increases the risk of cancer. Mammography also compresses breasts tightly (and often painfully), which could lead to a lethal spread of cancerous cells, should they exist.
Earlier this year, the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration issued a report stating that mammography screening may cause more harm than good. Their informative leaflet, Screening for Breast Cancer with Mammography,10 is an important read for every woman. Even more provocative is the new book, Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy by Peter C. Gøtzsche, Professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis Director at The Nordic Cochrane Centre, and Chief Physician. The very first paragraph of the book's ad reads:11
"The most effective way to decrease women's risk of becoming a breast cancer patient is to avoid attending screening."
While this may sound too shocking to be true for some, the available data fully supports that conclusion. According to the Cochrane Collaboration, for every 2,000 women invited for screening over the course of 10 years, just ONE woman will have her life prolonged. Meanwhile, 10 healthy women, who would not have been diagnosed with cancer had it not been for the mammography screening, will be misdiagnosed as having breast cancer, and will be treated unnecessarily. Additionally, more than 200 women will experience significant psychological distress for many months due to false positives.
The Cancer Industry is Fraught with Corruption...
There's plenty of damning information out there that can, and ultimately will, be used to call for a congressional hearing on the mammography cover-up. As far back as 1974, professor Malcolm C. Pike at the University of Southern California School of Medicine warned the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that a number of specialists had concluded that "giving a women under age 50 a mammogram on a routine basis is close to unethical." In the 1990's, Dr. Samuel Epstein warned about the dangers of mammography, stating:
"The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade's screening... The high sensitivity of the breast, especially in young women, to radiation-induced cancer was known by 1970. Nevertheless, the establishment then screened some 300,000 women with X-ray dosages so high as to increase breast cancer risk by up to 20 percent in women aged 40 to 50 who were mammogramed annually."
Yet despite all the evidence against the routine use of it, mammography has remained the number one recommended "prevention" strategy for all women over the age of 40. Alarmingly, there's evidence indicating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been negligent (to put it mildly) in their approval of a number of cancer-detecting devices. It recently became known that whistleblowers within the agency had been secretly monitored for two years; all of whom worked in the office responsible for reviewing medical devices, including cancer screening devices. The monitored employees had warned Congress that the agency was approving medical devices that posed unacceptable risks to patients.
Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health has repeatedly tried to take action against the employees, claiming they had disclosed information that undermined the integrity and mission of the FDA. Shuren is also the official who oversees mercury dental fillings, which they have been fraudulently referring to as 'silver fillings.' Shuren promised to make an announcement about dental amalgam by the end of 2011, but just before the end of the work year, the agency conceded that no announcement was forthcoming – not in 2011, and maybe not at all.
Again and again, Mr. Shuren demonstrates loyalty to industry interests rather than public health and safety... But he's not the only one. In a 2009 letter from an unknown number of FDA employees to President Obama's transition team, the authors clearly spell out the need for a complete overhaul of the agency due to deep-rooted systemic corruption at the highest levels.12 They write:
"Currently there is an atmosphere at FDA in which the honest employee fears the dishonest employee, and not the other way around. Disturbingly, the atmosphere does not yet exist at FDA where honest employees committed to integrity and the FDA mission can act without fear of reprisal. ...America urgently needs change at FDA because FDA is fundamentally broken, failing to fulfill its mission, and because re-establishing a proper and effectively functioning FDA is vital to the physical and economic health of the nation."
Mammograms No Longer Recommended for Women in Their 40's
The US Preventative Task Force revised its recommendations on mammograms in October 2009,13 stating that women in their 40's should no longer get routine mammograms for early detection of breast cancer. Instead, the panel recommended waiting until the age of 50, and only doing one mammogram every other year rather than annually. The Canadian task force followed suit in November last year.
While many cancer organizations were outraged and have shunned the task forces' new directive, it's important to realize that the main reasons for this change in guidelines were the documented dangers and short-comings of mammographic screening. All in all, there's convincing evidence that mammography is not all it's cracked up to be, and the FDA is not doing its stated job to protect your health. Instead, they're busy catering to industry and skirting the boundaries of the law to protect a lucrative business model. This is a tragedy, considering how many alternatives there are that could help stem the tide of cancer...
There's a wide variety of prevention and treatment strategies that appear to be both safer and more effective than conventional strategies like mammograms and the "cut-poison-burn" model of cancer treatment... To learn more, please review the related articles listed below.