Prevention is Key: 90% of Cancers Have No Family History

According to a new report, studies show that when women move to the United States from somewhere like Japan their risk of developing breast cancer increases. Genetics don’t change that quickly, only the environment does.

Breast cancer cost more than $17 billion to treat in the United States last year alone.  That number is four times bigger than the entire FDA budget for the year, and the disease was diagnosed in 227,000 women, killing 40,000.

Today 1 in 8 women in the United States get breast cancer, but only 1 in 10 of those cases is genetic, which means that 9 out of 10 of the women that get breast cancer have no family history of the disease, suggesting that the trigger is environmental.

A new federal report aims to address the 90% of cancer cases where there is no family history of the disease and to study the environmental causes of breast cancer, looking into everything from the pesticides now being poured onto our food crops to the synthetic chemicals now found in our plastic bottles and food packaging.

With 84,000 chemicals now circulating in our everyday lives, a lot of them non-existence just a generation ago, we are quickly learning that these synthetic chemicals are found in everything from our food supply to our food packaging, and a growing body of scientific evidence, from the President’s Cancer Panel to the Breast Cancer Fund, is showing that these chemicals have been associated with mammary gland tumors in animals.

But what about humans?

According to the report, there are about 84,000 chemicals are registered for use in the United States, but comprehensive testing and toxicological data are available for only 7% of them.  In other words, the testing has not been done on 93% of these ingredients now found in our food and environment.  With that lack of data, the industry producing these synthetic ingredients now used in our food and these synthetic chemicals now found in our everyday lives can claim “no evidence of harm” when in fact, there is no evidence because the toxicological testing has not yet been conducted.

So what’s an American to do?  Especially when we learn that other countries have banned or not allowed so many of these chemicals into their foods, their products and their environments, especially in the foods and products most commonly used by children?   Relocating overseas isn’t an option.

“How does a pregnant woman protect her child? How do we create policy so that she doesn’t have to be a toxicologist when she goes shopping?”” as Jeanine Rizzo, the head of the Breast Cancer Fund in the New York Times.

How do we protect our daughters, our mothers and our sisters from this tsunami of synthetic chemicals for which no long-term human safety or toxicological testing data is available?

We exercise precaution and study prevention.

The National Institutes of Health spent almost $2.4 billion on almost 3,000 breast cancer projects, but only about 1 out of every 10 of those projects looks into environmental causes, despite the fact that environmental and non-genetic reasons account for approximately 90% of all cases.

Should we be afraid of all of these chemicals?  No, but precaution may mean prevention, despite the fact that those involved in chemistry want to suggest that anyone that is afraid of chemicals has “chemophobia”.

This issue, the growing burden that cancer is placing on our families and on our economy, is bigger than name-calling.

In light of the escalating rates of cancer in children (it is now the leading cause of death by disease in American children under the age of 15) and the fact that the Presidents Cancer Panel reports that 41% of us are expected to get cancer in our lifetimes, perhaps rather than label the people who are suggesting that we exercise precaution around these synthetic ingredients and that further testing should be conducted as suggested by the new report.

And as new studies continue to mount highlighting the role that synthetic chemicals, pesticides and other pollutants now found in our food might be having on our health, from breast cancer to diabetes, conducting these tests in order to address the growing burden – financially, emotionally, physically and economically – that these environmental factors and synthetic ingredients now found in our food, everyday products and lives are having on the health of our country just might be one of the most patriotic things we could be doing.

More information about the new federal report is available here.

To learn steps that you can take to protect your health and the health of those that you love, please visit: