The Institute of Medicine in the U.S. recently released its comprehensive review of environmental causes and risk factors for breast cancer.
This should be news: The report, Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer and Radiation From Medical Imaging, published in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, found that “none of the consumer products (i.e. bisphenol A, phthalates), industrial chemicals (i.e. benzene, ethylene oxide), or pesticides (i.e. DDT/DDE) considered could be conclusively linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.” Instead, what the institute found was an association between breast cancer and ionizing radiation, as well as a link between breast cancer and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Such findings are consistent with previous studies. And, after concluding that a number of lifestyle factors (such as limiting alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy weight) “may modestly reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer,” the Archives article discusses the disconcerting role that overuse of CT scans plays in the rate of breast cancer. The institute has estimated that “2,800 future breast cancers would result from one year of medical radiation exposure among the entire U.S. female population, with two-thirds of those cases resulting from CT radiation exposures.”