Preventative Risk Factors

The following are preventative risk factors meaning risk factors you can control and/or avoid.

Reference: Webmd

Environmental Risk Factors to Avoid:

§ Diethylstilbestrol (DES): used from 1940 - 1971 to prevent premature delivery

§ Organochlorines: (These studies have been inconsistent) pesticides, such as DDT and dieldrin, the triazine herbicides, and industrial chemicals, such as PCBs and dioxins. The use of DDT and the production of PCBs has been banned or restricted in the United States since the 1970's, but these chemicals are still in use worldwide. Organochlorines, which bioaccumulate in the food chain, persist in the environment and can be found in human breast milk, adipose tissue, and blood. Almost everyone is exposed to these chemicals, primarily through consumption of fish, dairy products, and meat.

§ Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): Found in air pollution, cigarette smoke, and cooked meat, these chemicals have been shown to cause mammary gland cancer in animals. The California EPA Air Resources Board recently released a report confirming a risk between cigarette smoke exposure and breast cancer.

§ Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS): Also known as second-hand smoke, is a mixture of chemicals generated during the burning and smoking of tobacco products to which non-smokers are exposed. Researchers have identified over 4,000 individual constituents in ETS. ETS has been found to be a critical source of exposure to toxic air contaminants indoors as well as outdoors. The report, entitled "Health Effects of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke," can be accessed at

§ Viruses: The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a human herpes-virus that causes infectious mononucleosis. It has been associated with the development of several cancers in humans, including Burkitt's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. One recent study found that the EBV virus was more frequently associated with aggressive breast tumors. It is still unknown whether EBC contributes to the development of human breast cancer, or whether it simply infects tumor cells that already exist.

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