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Antiperspirant use as a risk factor for breast cancer in Iraq

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Some internet communications have addressed the link between antiperspirant use and breast cancer. We studied the possible association between the use of antiperspirants and some other factors with the development of breast cancer in Al-Kadhmia teaching hospital. Thus, 54 cases of breast cancer and 50 controls were interviewed. We found 82.0% of the controls used antiperspirants compared with 51.8% of cases (P< 0.05). The use of antiperspirants had no association with the risk of breast cancer, while family history and oral contraceptives use were found to be associated.
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478 La Revue de Santé de la Méditerranée orientale, Vol. 12, N
o
3/4, 2006
٢٠٠٦ ،٤-٣ $ﺪﻌﻟ ،ﺮﺸﻋ (ﺎﺜﻟ ﺪﻠﺠﳌ ،ﺔﻴﳌﺎﻌﻟ ﺔﺤﺼﻟ ﺔﻤﻈﻨﻣ ،ﻂﺳﻮﺘﳌ ﺮﺸﻟ ﺔﻴﺤﺼﻟ ﺔﻠﺠﳌ
Short communication
Antiperspirant use as a risk factor
for breast cancer in Iraq
S. Fakri,
1
A.Al-Azzawi
1
and N. Al-Tawil
1
1
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, Al-Nahrain University, Baghdad, Iraq
(Correspondence to N. Al-Tawil: altaweeln@yahoo.com).
Received: 19/05/04; accepted: 30/11/04
ABSTRACT Some internet communications have addressed the link between antiperspirant use and
breast cancer. We studied the possible association between the use of antiperspirants and some other
factors with the development of breast cancer in Al-Kadhmia teaching hospital. Thus, 54 cases of
breast cancer and 50 controls were interviewed. We found 82.0% of the controls used antiperspirants
compared with 51.8% of cases (P < 0.05). The use of antiperspirants had no association with the risk of
breast cancer, while family history and oral contraceptives use were found to be associated.
L’utilisation des antisudoraux comme facteur de risque de cancer du sein en Iraq
Certaines communications électroniques sur l’Internet ont examiné le lien entre l’utilisation d’antisudo-
raux et le cancer du sein. Nous avons étudié l’association éventuelle entre l'utilisation d’antisudoraux
ainsi que certains autres facteurs et l'apparition d’un cancer du sein à l’hôpital universitaire Al-Kadhmia.
Cinquante-quatre (54) cas de cancer du sein et 50 témoins ont donc été interrogés. Nous avons cons-
taté que 82,0 % des témoins utilisaient des antisudoraux contre 51,8 % des cas (p < 0,05). Il n’y avait
aucune association entre l'utilisation d’antisudoraux et le risque de cancer du sein, alors qu’on a trouvé
une association avec les antécédents familiaux et l'utilisation de contraceptifs oraux.
Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, Vol. 12, Nos 3/4, 2006 479
٢٠٠٦ ،٤-٣ $ﺪﻌﻟ ،ﺮﺸﻋ (ﺎﺜﻟ ﺪﻠﺠﳌ ،ﺔﻴﳌﺎﻌﻟ ﺔﺤﺼﻟ ﺔﻤﻈﻨﻣ ،ﻂﺳﻮﺘﳌ ﺮﺸﻟ ﺔﻴﺤﺼﻟ ﺔﻠﺠﳌ
Introduction
Breast cancer is considered one of the major
types of cancers among women, hence one
of the leading causes of death [1]. In Iraq,
breast cancer cases have increased dramati-
cally, especially in the 1990s, and constitut-
ed 14.3% of all types of cancers in 1997 [1].
It has become a major public health prob-
lem. The research question of this study
arose after reading a letter submitted by
Elizabeth Morin which linked breast cancer
with antiperspirant (not deodorant) use [2].
The idea, as Morin said, is that antiperspi-
rants prevent the body from perspiring, and
thus prevent it from removing toxins from
under the armpits. As toxins do not disap-
pear spontaneously, the body deposits them
in the lymph nodes below the arms instead.
These lymph nodes are located in the upper
outside quadrant of the breast area where
almost all breast cancer tumours occur [2].
Considering the importance of breast
cancer, we reviewed the literature that links
breast cancer with antiperspirant use and
found a reference that addresses this issue
[3]. Our current study aimed to assess the
possible association between the use of an-
tiperspirants and breast cancer, and to iden-
tify some other factors that are suspected of
being associated with breast cancer.
Methods
All women (54) with breast cancer attending
the oncology clinic of Al-Kadhmia teaching
hospital from 1 September 2002 through
28 February 2003 were included as cases
in the study. The inclusion criteria were
any woman with breast cancer diagnosed
histopathologically by excisional biopsy.
Another group of 50 women, attending the
general medicine clinic for various other
complaints, not including breast problems,
was considered as the control group. Wom-
en attending the above-mentioned clinic and
falling within the same 5-year age categories
as the breast cancer cases were included in
the control group. Only 50 controls could be
recruited as a result of the invasion of Iraq
in March 2003. We interviewed the cases
using a self-designed questionnaire that
included the following items: age, marital
status, duration of the disease since diagno-
sis, family history of breast cancer, smoking
status, use of oral contraceptives, and the
use of antiperspirants.
Epi-Info, version 6 was used for data
entry and analysis, and the chi-squared test
of association was used to compare between
observed and expected frequencies and
between cases and controls.
Results
The mean age (standard deviation) of the
cases was 43 (8.4) years, while that of the
controls was 41.4 (15.1) years; the differ-
ence between the 2 means was not statisti-
cally significant (P > 0.05).
Table 1 shows that there was a significant
association between family history of breast
cancer and use of oral contraceptives with
the development of breast cancer (P < 0.05):
32.1% of the cases had a positive family his-
tory of breast cancer compared with 8.0% of
the controls and 38.9% of the cases had used
oral contraceptives compared with only
10.0% of the controls. No significant as-
sociation was found between either marital
status or smoking habit and the develop-
ment of breast cancer (P > 0.05).
Table 2 shows that 82.0% of the control
group used antiperspirants compared with
51.8% of the cases, and this difference was
statistically significant (P = 0.00115).
480 La Revue de Santé de la Méditerranée orientale, Vol. 12, N
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Discussion
Recently spam messages on the internet,
news and books have addressed the link
between antiperspirant use and the risk of
breast cancer. Darbre et al. carried out a
study on 20 samples of human breast tumour
to detect the level of parabens (cosmetic
preservatives that can mimic the action of
estrogen) [4]. In 4 of the 20 tumours, total
paraben concentration was more than twice
the average level. In spite of this finding,
Darbre suggests more studies are needed to
support or refute this hypothesis [4]. On the
other hand, some experts think that perspi-
ration does not eliminate toxins and there
are in fact no toxins in sweat, which is made
up of water, sodium, potassium, and magne-
sium [5]. The relation between antiperspi-
rant use and breast cancer is considered as a
myth in another website [6].
Although the sample size was relatively
small, our study failed to find a link between
antiperspirant use and breast cancer. In fact
our study showed that antiperspirant use
was higher among the control group than
the cancer cases. The proportion of women
with a positive family history of breast can-
cer among cases was fourfold the propor-
tion among the controls. This is consistent
with other findings. For example, it has
been reported that women whose mothers
Table 1 Comparison between cases and controls regarding marital status,
family history of breast cancer, smoking, and use of oral contraceptives
Variable Cases (n = 54) Controls (n = 50) Statistical data
No. % No. %
Marital status
Married 45 83.3 39 78.0 χ
2
= 0.48, P = 0.49
Single 9 16.7 11 22.0
Family history of
breast cancer
a
Present 17 32.1 4 8.0 χ
2
= 9.19, P = 0.0024
Absent 36 67.9 46 92.0
Current smoking
a
Yes 6 11.3 8 16.0 χ
2
= 0.48, P = 0.4885
No 47 88.7 42 84.0
Use of oral
contraceptives
User 21 38.9 5 10.0 χ
2
= 11.6, P = 0.000675
Non-user 33 61.1 45 90.0
a
Data were missing for I case.
Table 2 Use of antiperspirants among cases and controls
Use of Cases (n = 54) Controls (n = 50) Statistical data
antiperspirants No. % No. %
User 28 51.9 41 82.0 χ
2
= 10.57, P = 0.00115
Non-user 26 48.1 9 18.0
Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, Vol. 12, Nos 3/4, 2006 481
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or sisters have had breast cancer have a two-
fold increased risk, and that women whose
mother and sisters have breast cancer have
a threefold increased risk [7]. Other studies
report similar findings [8–11].
We found no association between
cigarette smoking and breast cancer. In
general this concurs with the results of epi-
demiological studies throughout the world
[12,13], although some of them do not
show consistent results [14,15]. Analysis
of the results of 53 epidemiological stud-
ies showed that, after adjustment for the
effect of alcohol, there was no association
between smoking and breast cancer (rela-
tive risk for ever smokers = 1.03, 95% CI
= 0.98–1.07 and for current smokers =
0.99, 95% CI = 0.92–1.05) [13]. Band et
al. carried out a study involving 318 pre-
menopausal women and 340 controls [16].
The risk of breast cancer was significantly
increased in women who had been pregnant
and who started to smoke within 5 years
of menarche (adjusted OR 1.69, 95% CI =
1.13–2.51), and in nulliparous women who
smoked 20 cigarettes daily or more (OR =
7.08, 95% CI = 1.63–30.8) and had smoked
for 20 cumulative pack-years or more (OR
= 7.48, 95% CI = 1.59–35.2). On the other
hand, postmenopausal women (700 breast
cancer cases and 685 controls) whose body
mass index increased from age 18 years to
current and who started to smoke after a
first full-term pregnancy had a significantly
reduced risk of breast cancer (OR = 0.49,
95% CI = 0.27–0.89 [16].
Our study showed that there were more
users of oral contraceptives among the cases
of breast cancer compared with the controls.
Other research has reported inconsistent
findings regarding oral contraceptive use
and breast cancer [7,17–19].
In conclusion, the use of antiperspi-
rants was not associated with breast cancer.
Family history of breast cancer and oral
contraceptive pills use were found to be
associated with breast cancer, while other
variables such as marital status and smoking
were not.
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... A study by McGrath (2003) found that 40% of women with breast cancer used antiperspirant and hair color. [6] In the study by Fakri et al., (2006), it was found that 51% of patients with breast cancer used antiperspirant and hair color, while in the healthy group 54% used antiperspirant and hair color. [7] A study by Davis and Thomas (2002) reported that 50% of women with breast cancer used antiperspirant and hair color, while 56% of the control group (healthy people) used antiperspirant and hair color. ...
... [6] In the study by Fakri et al., (2006), it was found that 51% of patients with breast cancer used antiperspirant and hair color, while in the healthy group 54% used antiperspirant and hair color. [7] A study by Davis and Thomas (2002) reported that 50% of women with breast cancer used antiperspirant and hair color, while 56% of the control group (healthy people) used antiperspirant and hair color. [8] In line with the present study, it was found that the incidence of breast cancer did not increase following the use of antiperspirant and hair color (Above study). ...
... [8] Even in the Fakri et al., study (2006) showed a negative relationship between the use of antiperspirant and hair color with breast cancer. [7] In a wide-ranging review, it was reported that there was no relationship between antiperspirant and hair color use with breast cancer. [10] Darbre et al. (2013) investigated the effect of aluminum on the invasive properties of breast cancer cells. ...
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Introduction: Breast cancer is one of the most important and common types of cancer in most countries of the world and its incidence are increasing in Iranian women. Understanding its contributing factors is important in planning for prevention. This study was conducted to investigate the association between aluminum-containing antiperspirant and hair color use with breast cancer. Methods: In this observational cross-sectional descriptive study, 384 patients with breast cancer referred to selected hospitals of Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2017 and 384 person as control group were randomly selected. The anti-perspiration use of aluminum-containing and hair color was compared. In this study, data were collected and descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze them. Absolute and relative frequency distribute tables, mean, and standard deviation were used to descriptive statistics. Chi-square and independent t-tests were used for data analysis. Results: The use of antiperspirant was similar in this study, with 23.2% of breast cancer patients and 22.4% of control group using antiperspirant (P = 0.796). Frequency distribution of the use of hair color was similar among the studied subjects and 35.9% of breast cancer patients and 32% of control group consumed hair color (P = 0.253). Conclusion: Based on the results, it can be concluded that there is no significant relationship between the use of aluminum-containing anti-perspiration and hair color with breast cancer.
... The human body is exposed to cosmetics and personal care products that contain aluminium salts daily. It has been hypothesized that aluminium in these products may harm human health; therefore, it should be removed from cosmetics and personal care products (Darbre, 2016;Fakri et al., 2006;Flarend et al., 2001;Rodrigues-Peres et al., 2013a, 2013b. However, antiperspirants are still prescribed in hyperhidrosis (HH) treatment (Brown et al., 2014;Hosp & Hamm, 2017). ...
... The absorption rate may also increase by shaving those areas because of skin irritation and scratches. These products' absorption and distribution pathways are unknown; however, they usually bypass the metabolism pathway (Darbre, 2009 Fakri et al., 2006;Guillard et al., 2004). Although it was stated that cosmetic or personal care products should not be applied on irritated or broken skin (CFR, 2019), consumers reported applying these products after shaving or using other hair removal methods. ...
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Usage of inorganic ingredients like aluminium salts in cosmetics and personal care products has been a concern for producers and consumers. Although aluminium is used to treat hyperhidrosis, some worries have been raised about aluminium's role in breast cancer, breast cyst and Alzheimer's disease. The human population is exposed to aluminium from vaccines, diet, and drinking water, but the frequent use of aluminium‐based cosmetics might add additional local exposure. This paper reviews literature to determine if aluminium‐based products may pose potential harm to the body. The dermal absorption of aluminium is not widely understood. It is not yet known whether aluminium can travel from the skin to brain to cause Alzheimer's disease. Aluminium may cause gene instability, alter gene expression or enhance oxidative stress, but the carcinogenicity of aluminium has not been proved yet. Until now, epidemiological researches were based on oral information, which lacks consistency, and the results are conflicting. Future studies should target real‐life‐based long‐time exposure to antiperspirants and other aluminium‐containing cosmetics and personal care products. The usage of aluminium salts in cosmetics and personal care products has been a matter of concern for producers and consumers. It has been found that there is not any clear consensus on the potential harm of aluminium‐based products. The epidemiological studies are not enough. The rate of absorption of aluminium through the skin is not clear. Further real‐life and long‐time exposure‐based studies are needed.
... In addition, aluminium (being a metalloestrogen) may produce an oestrogen-like effect, which is claimed to be implicated in the development of breast cancer [20]. However, the results of two epidemiological studies have failed to show a positive association between the use of antiperspirants and an increased risk of breast cancer [21,22]. In contrast, one study conducted on a group of 437 women with a history of breast cancer has found that the diagnosis of cancer was made at a younger age in women who started using deodorants or antiperspirants earlier, used them more often, and performed axillary depilation. ...
... Ponadto glin jako metaloestrogen może mieć działanie podobne do estrogenów, którym przypisywany jest udział w powstawaniu nowotworów piersi [20]. Wyniki dwóch badań epidemiologicznych nie potwierdzają jednak pozytywnej korelacji między stosowaniem antyperspirantów a zwiększonym ryzykiem raka piersi [21,22]. W jednej z analiz dotyczącej grupy 437 kobiet z nowotworem piersi w wywiadzie wykazano, że u pacjentek, które wcześniej rozpoczęły i częściej stosowały dezodoranty lub antyperspiranty oraz przeprowadzały depilację dołów pachowych, diagnozę nowotworu ustalono we wcześniejszym wieku. ...
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... In case of shift-based work, mainly the women who have been working on night shifts are more prone to BC development when compared to day shift workers (30)(31)(32). Antiperspirant usage is another lifestyle-driven risk factor in women that can drive the incidence of BC, as majority of deodorants are composed of parabens, which have significant estrogenic properties (33)(34)(35). In addition, aesthetic surgeries using breast implantations (for example, silicone breast implants) for a better breast augmentation could be another risk factor that can induce malignancy in breast tissue, which yet requires substantial research studies (36)(37)(38)(39). ...
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... Parada et al. found positive associations between paraben concentrations in urine (methylpropyl and ∑parabens) and prevalent breast cancer, and negative, non-significant associations with breast cancer mortality [28]. Out of four case-control studies of antiperspirant use and breast cancer risk, two reported no effect [29,30] and one found an increased risk of breast cancer by use of underarm cosmetics [31]. The forth study reported an association between earlier age at breast cancer diagnosis and longer duration of deodorant use and underarm shaving [32]. ...
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Background Concerns have been raised that extensive use of personal care products that contain endocrine disrupting compounds increase the risk of hormone sensitive cancers. Objective To assess the effect of skincare product use on the risk of pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer, estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and negative (ER-) breast cancer and cancer of the endometrium. Methods We used data from 106,978 participants in the population-based Norwegian Women and Cancer cohort. Participants were categorized into non-, light, moderate, frequent and heavy users of skincare products based on self-reported use of hand and facial cream and body lotion. Cancer incidence information from the Cancer Registry of Norway was linked to individual data through the unique identity number of Norwegian citizens. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression was used to assess the effect of skincare product use on the risk of cancer of the breast and endometrium. We used multiple imputation by chained equations to evaluate the effect of missing data on observed associations. Results We found no associations between use of skincare products and incidence of premenopausal breast cancer (frequent/heavy versus non−/light use: hazard ratio [HR] =1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.92–1.32), postmenopausal breast cancer (heavy versus light use: HR = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.65–1.18, frequent versus light use: HR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.88, 1.07) or endometrial cancer (frequent/heavy versus non−/light use: HR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.79–1.20). Use of skincare products did not increase the risk of ER+ or ER- breast cancer and there was no difference in effect across ER status (0.58 ≤ pheterogeneity ≤ 0.99). The magnitude and direction of the effect estimates based on complete case analyses and multiple imputation were similar. Conclusion Heavy use of skincare products, i.e. creaming the body up to two times per day during mid-life, did not increase the risk of cancer of the breast or endometrium.
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Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), triclosan and parabens is widespread but their impact on breast cancer risk remains unclear. This nested case‐control study investigated endocrine‐disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and breast cancer risk within the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC). We measured pre‐diagnostic urinary BPA, triclosan, and parabens in 1,032 mostly postmenopausal women with breast cancer (48 African American, 77 Latinos, 155 Native Hawaiian, 478 Japanese American, and 274 White) and 1,030 individually matched controls, using a sensitive and validated liquid chromatography mass spectrometry assay. Conditional logistic regression was used to examine risk with these EDCs with adjustment for creatinine and potential confounders. In all women, breast cancer risk was not associated with BPA (Ptrend=0.53) and was inversely associated with triclosan (ORT3 vsT1= 0.83, 95% CI 0.66‐1.04, Ptrend=0.045) and total parabens (ORT3 vsT1= 0.77, 95% CI 0.62‐0.97, Ptrend=0.03). While risk of hormone receptor (HR+) cancer was 20‐23% lower among women in the upper two tertiles of paraben exposure (Ptrend=0.02), risk of HR‐ was reduced 27% but only among those in the upper tertile of exposure. Although risk associations did not differ significantly by race/ethnicity or by body mass index (BMI), the inverse association with triclosan was observed mainly among overweight/obese women (ORT3 vsT1= 0.76, 95% CI 0.56‐1.02, Ptrend=0.02). In summary, breast cancer risk in a multiethnic population was unrelated to BPA and was weakly inversely associated with triclosan and paraben exposures. Studies with multiple urine samples collected before breast cancer diagnosis are needed to further investigate these EDCs and breast cancer risk.
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The safety of Aluminium in cosmetic products - Submission II Link to opinion https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/docs/sccs_o_235.pdf WG on Cosmetic Ingredients SCCS members: U. Bernauer, L. Bodin (Rapporteur), Q. Chaudhry, P.J. Coenraads (Chairperson), M. Dusinska, J. Ezendam, E. Gaffet, C. L. Galli, B. Granum, E. Panteri, V. Rogiers, Ch. Rousselle, M. Stepnik, T. Vanhaecke, S. Wijnhoven SCCS external experts: A. Koutsodimou, A. Simonnard, W. Uter Contact: SANTE-C2-SCCS@ec.europa.eu On request from: European Commission SCCS Number: SCCS/1613/19 Adopted on: 03-04 March 2020 ________________________________________ Conclusion of the opinion: 1. In light of the new data provided, does the SCCS consider that Aluminium compounds are safe in • Antiperspirants, • Other cosmetic products such as lipsticks and toothpastes? In the light of the new data provided, the SCCS considers that the use of aluminium compounds is safe at the following equivalent aluminium concentrations up to: · 6.25% in non-spray deodorants or non-spray antiperspirants · 10.60% in spray deodorants or spray antiperspirants · 2.65% in toothpaste and · 0.77 % in lipstick 2. Does the SCCS have any further scientific concerns regarding the use of Aluminium compounds in cosmetic products taking into account exposure from other sources? The SCCS considers that the systemic exposure to aluminium via daily applications of cosmetic products does not add significantly to the systemic body burden of aluminium from other sources. Exposure to aluminium may also occur from sources other than cosmetic products, and a major source of aluminium in the population is the diet. This assessment has not taken into account the daily dietary intake of aluminium. 3. In the event that the estimated exposure to Aluminium from specific types of cosmetic products is found to be of concern, SCCS is asked to recommend safe concentration limits for the presence of Aluminium in those cosmetic products or other risk reducing measures. / ________________________________________ Keywords: SCCS, scientific opinion, Aluminium, Regulation 1223/2009 ________________________________________ Opinion to be cited as: SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety), Opinion on the safety of aluminium in cosmetic products, preliminary version of 30-31 October 2019, final version of 03-04 March 2020, SCCS/1613/19.
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In 2017, the German Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area has re‐evaluated the biological tolerance value (BAT value) for aluminium [7429‐90‐5]. Available publications are described in detail. The BAT value of 60 µg aluminium/g creatinine evaluated in 2009 was based on the linear correlation between external and internal exposure. The aim of this re‐evaluation was the derivation of a health‐based BAT value considering the most sensitive critical effect of aluminium, the neurotoxicity. For this purpose, the available studies of aluminium‐exposed workers were taken into account, when the internal aluminium exposure as well as the occurrence of subclinical neurotoxic effects were determined. The effects had been measured with standardised neuropsychological test procedures. From these studies, a no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of 50 µg/g creatinine for the occurrence of subtle neurotoxic effects of humans was estimated. Therefore, a BAT value of 50 µg aluminium/g creatinine was evaluated. Sampling time for long‐term exposures is at the end of the shift after several shifts.
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To investigate the association between family history (FH) of neoplasia, gyneco-obstetric factors and breast cancer (BC) in a case-control study. In cases, to analyze those variables in relation with early onset of BC, the manner of detection (self-examination, prompted by pain, or casual), the size of tumor, and the elapsed time to seek medical attention. Data from 151 prevalent BC cases and 235 age-matched controls were analyzed by multiple logistic regression, to assess the influence of BC risk factors. Ten per cent of patients and 1% of controls had first-degree relatives (FDR) with BC. Family history of FDR with BC (OR, 11.2; 95% CI 2.42-51.92) or with gastric or pancreatic cancer (OR, 17.7; 95% CI 2.2-142.6) was associated with BC risk. Breastfeeding at or under 25 years of age was protective against BC (OR, 0.40; 95% CI 0.24-0.66). The manner of tumor detection did not influence its size at the time of diagnosis. Our study confirms that FH of BC and/or of gastric or pancreatic carcinoma are risk factors for BC, while lactation at 25 years of age or earlier is protective.
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Parabens are used as preservatives in many thousands of cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical products to which the human population is exposed. Although recent reports of the oestrogenic properties of parabens have challenged current concepts of their toxicity in these consumer products, the question remains as to whether any of the parabens can accumulate intact in the body from the long-term, low-dose levels to which humans are exposed. Initial studies reported here show that parabens can be extracted from human breast tissue and detected by thin-layer chromatography. More detailed studies enabled identification and measurement of mean concentrations of individual parabens in samples of 20 human breast tumours by high-pressure liquid chromatography followed by tandem mass spectrometry. The mean concentration of parabens in these 20 human breast tumours was found to be 20.6 +/- 4.2 ng x g(-1) tissue. Comparison of individual parabens showed that methylparaben was present at the highest level (with a mean value of 12.8 +/- 2.2 ng x g(-1) tissue) and represents 62% of the total paraben recovered in the extractions. These studies demonstrate that parabens can be found intact in the human breast and this should open the way technically for more detailed information to be obtained on body burdens of parabens and in particular whether body burdens are different in cancer from those in normal tissues.
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Results from studies evaluating the relationship between cigarette smoking and breast cancer have been inconsistent. Though most studies have found that smoking does not alter risk, others have observed both increased and decreased risks associated with smoking. The reasons for these inconsistencies are unclear, but they may be related to differences in study populations, designs, and exposure definitions. In particular, this relationship may vary by age, and few studies have focused on older women many of whom have smoked for very long durations. We conducted a population-based case-control study (975 cases/1007 controls) of women 65-79 years of age in western Washington State. Women who were current smokers, smoked for > or =40 years, had > or =11 pack-years of lifetime smoking, or started smoking before their first full-term birth each had 30-40% elevated risks of breast cancer (p < 0.05). Recency, length, and intensity of smoking are all associated with modest increased risks of breast cancer. A further understanding of the timing of smoking, and its interaction with other factors, may enhance our knowledge of whether and by what mechanisms smoking alters breast cancer risk.