Friday, February 07, 2003

County Searches for Clues to Breast Cancer Rates
Run Date: 02/07/03,
By Rebecca Vesely,
WEnews correspondent,
" TIBURON, Calif. (WOMENSENEWS)--On a sunny Saturday morning, more than 2,000 volunteers fanned out over the affluent suburbs north of San Francisco to conduct a door-to-door search for clues to the mystery plaguing this community: Why are so many women here getting breast cancer? Marin County has a breast cancer rate nearly 40 percent higher than the national average. Breast cancer diagnoses in Marin climbed 37 percent over the past decade, compared to just 3 percent in other urban California counties....
"I just don't believe that the high rate of incidence of breast cancer is due to later childbearing," says Marcia Rubenstein, who lives in Tiburon. "It's got to be something environmental. Maybe it's toxins leached in the soil."...
So far, researchers have not found a smoking gun linking environmental factors to cancer in the area. Two state senators plan to introduce legislation early next year that would fund a pilot program to monitor breast milk for chemical contaminants--the first of its kind in the nation. The hope is that breast milk could provide some clues as to whether pesticides, detergents, plastics or other chemical products are contributing to breast cancer." [It concerns me that people reject research which indicates delaying childbirth as a risk factor for breast cancer. Will they reject research showing environmental contaminants in breast milk? Will women breastfeed if they hear about chemicals in their breastmilk? It will be very important to communicate relative risk vis a vis infant formula. - JC]

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