Breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer affecting women worldwide. Although, there are cases of male breast cancer, women are more susceptible to it. Breast cancer is usually caused in women of advanced years, but it is known to affect younger women as well. According to recent statistics, breast cancer accounts for 16 percent of cases of cancers in females and 18 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide are due to breast cancer.
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breasts start to grow in an uncontrolled manner. The extra cell growth forms a tumor which results in a lump that can be viewed with an x-ray. The tumor is deemed cancerous when the cells start spreading to nearby areas.
There are several reasons behind this abnormal cell growth including genetic and hormonal factors. However, recently, researchers have found that environmental factors can also contribute to breast cancer. Environmental factors include cancer-causing chemicals that are present in everyday things that women and men use. Keep in mind that there is no conclusive evidence that directly relates these everyday things to breast cancer, but it is serious enough to warrant a detailed study. Here is a list of 10 everyday things you might want to avoid in order to reduce the risks of breast cancer:
1. Air Fresheners – This may come as a surprise but air fresheners contain a plastic chemical called ‘phthalates’, which help in the growth of cancer cells in some of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. The chemical has been found to be a hormone disrupter and it accelerates the growth of cancerous cells. A study found that cancer cells exposed to phthalates grew 3 times faster and spread 2.5 times faster. Avoid air fresheners containing this chemical and use beeswax candles instead.
2. Mothballs – The use of mothballs is fairly common when it comes to preserving clothes. However, not many people know that dichlorobenzene, a chemical used heavily in mothballs, has been found to accelerate puberty in girls exposed to it while not affecting girls who had not been exposed to it. Early puberty is a risk factor for breast cancer. A great alternative to moth balls is using a combination of lavender, cloves and sandalwood packed in an old sock or cloth.
3. Vinyl – Vinyl is one of the most common items found in a household, mostly in bathroom and shower curtains and flooring. However, vinyl also contains Phthalates, which are used as plastic softeners. As we saw in the case of air fresheners, this chemical ends up accelerating the growth of cancer cells, thus increasing the risks of breast cancer. A great alternative for vinyl curtains is using cotton or hemp curtains.
4. Toilet Deodorizers – You would never suspect something as harmless as a toilet deodorizer, including the ones that you hang in the toilet for fresh smells, to contain Dichlorobenzene, the same chemical found in mothballs. Young girls regularly exposed to this chemical tend to have early periods, sometimes seven months in advance. Early puberty could lead to breast cancer at a later stage in life.
5. Air Pollution – This one is pretty obvious; but many of us don’t stop to think about it. Research has shown that women exposed to high levels of air pollutions are twice as likely to develop breast cancer later in life as compared to women who live in comparatively less polluted areas.
6. Contaminated Mascara – Recent studies have shown that some contaminated makeup products such as mascaras contain a known carcinogen called ‘cadmium’, which is a heavy metal. Studies show that cadmium fuels the growth of proteins that in turn help the breast cancer cells grow and spread throughout the body. The best way out of this is to check the components of the makeup products before buying them. If you do buy them, use a sponge to apply them instead of a brush.
7. Canned Foods – Canned foods might be one of the contributing factors behind breast cancer. Studies have discovered that the can liner in cans used to store the foods contains Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is a known hormone disruptor. A study found that female monkeys exposed to BPA during pregnancy gave birth to girls with dense breasts, a known risk factor behind breast cancer. Replace canned foods with fresh alternatives or frozen foods.