Breast cancer awareness month is very important to spotlight the #2 cause of cancer in women (behind skin cancer). Because it is so common, chances are it has affected or will affect someone you know. 1 of 8 US women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, accounting for 30% of all new cancer diagnoses in women. While survival rates have improved tremendously, breast cancer is still the second most common cause of cancer death in women (behind lung cancer).
The photo above is of my good friend from medical school and pediatric residency. She developed breast cancer in her 30s and valiantly fought it for 10 years. My mother died from ovarian cancer, my sister had breast cancer, and I have a genetic inability to process estrogen well. So I am not only concerned about these issues as a Preventive Medicine specialist, but for myself and my two daughters. This has led me on a quest to figure out the best ways to prevent breast and other estrogen-related cancers.
Most people know about some of the risk factors that we have control over – eating right, exercising, minimizing alcohol consumption, judicious use of hormone therapy and oral contraceptives, and stress management. But many people are not aware of extra sources of estrogen that we may be exposed to – particularly in our personal care products.
Did you know that …
• The average woman uses a dozen personal care products containing 168 unique chemical ingredients every day?
• 60% of substances that we put ON our body, end up IN our body?
• Most chemicals in cosmetics have not been tested for their potential to cause long-term health problems such as cancer or reproductive harm?
• Many chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products may be endocrine disrupting (estrogenic) or cancer causing?
• Some pink ribbon products contain chemicals that may increase the risk of breast cancer (called pinkwashing)?
To find out if your personal care products are putting you in harms way, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. If your product is not listed, cut and paste the ingredients to create your own product report.
Look out for my next post about Pinkwashing and Greenwashing, why I have now removed a product line from my recommendation list, and what I’m recommending now.