Dr. Marchese shares the toxins or chemicals that cause breast cancer.
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What toxins or chemicals cause breast cancer? Dr. Marianne Marchese: That’s the biggy, so when we look at environmental links to different cancers, breast cancer is actually the gold standard for toxin testing because breast tissue is merely adipose tissue or fat tissue, and so toxins, different chemicals that we're exposed to through our food, our air, our water, our products, are very fat-loving and so they stay stored in fat tissue or what we call adipose tissue. And so, breast tissue being mostly adipose tissue, it’s a perfect place for toxins to be stored. So breast cancer is where most of the studies have been done on environmental toxin and actually where all the funding is being done on environmental toxins. So we have a huge body of research and we can talk for hours about it, but I’ll try to just give you the highlights. Probably the biggest one that I want women to know about is something called parabens. Parabens are a chemical that are in numerous cosmetic products such as shampoos and lotions, soaps, conditioners. They’re in these products because they’re what keep bacteria from growing in the product. If you can imagine, a bottle of lotion, by the time it’s made and shipped to the store, the woman buys it and we put it on our bodies, it could grow bacteria. So parabens, methylparaben and propylparaben, are in there to prevent the bacteria from growing. However, we know that this chemical is very estrogenic, meaning that it has estrogen-like properties. So if you take a Petri dish with breast cancer cells and you add estrogen, it grows; the breast cancer cells grow. If you take that Petri dish with breast cancer cells and you add parabens, guess what, it grows, and there’s an interesting study that was done about a year and a half ago, maybe it’s been two years now, where they took women’s breast tissue that had cancer, so these were women with breast cancer, and they took a sample of that breast tumor, and they measured for parabens. A 100% of the samples had parabens in it. Now that doesn’t mean you can say that the parabens caused the breast cancer. It means that it’s a correlative study that it correlates with breast cancer. The other toxins or chemicals that are linked to breast cancer would be a compound called Bisphenol A, phthalates, polyaromatic hydrocarbons. We know that cigarette smoking, both a woman smoking and also secondhand smoke, is linked to breast cancer, and then of course radiation exposure is linked to breast cancer.