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Do you know what chemicals you're exposed to on a daily basis? A recent study found that women with cancers of the breast, uterus, skin (melanoma), or ovaries had significantly higher levels of certain endocrine disrupting chemicals in their bodies than women without any of those cancers.

The researchers looked at levels of some hormone disrupting chemicals: PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), phenols (e.g. BPA), and parabens in both men and women. They found that women had higher levels of endocrine disruptors for 4 types of cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian, and melanoma). However, there was no relationship between the endocrine disruptors and thyroid cancer in men or women, and no relationship in men with prostate cancer.

The reason the researchers looked at breast, prostate, thyroid, ovarian, endometrial, and testicular cancers, and melanoma is because they are "hormone-mediated" cancers. That is, hormones play a role in growth and progression of these cancers.

Bottom line: You cannot totally avoid these chemicals because they are used in so many products, but you can really lower your exposure to them. Read Avoiding Harmful Chemicals for easy tips on reducing your exposure to these harmful chemicals. For example, don't use non-stick pots and pans, don't use plug-in air fresheners, and try to use fragrance-free or unscented products as much as possible. Use paraben and phthalate-free personal care products.

From Medical Xpress: Study finds significant chemical exposures in women with cancer

In a sign that exposure to certain endocrine-disrupting chemicals may be playing a role in cancers of the breast, ovary, skin and uterus, researchers have found that people who developed those cancers have significantly higher levels of these chemicals in their bodies. ...continue reading "Some Cancers In Women Linked to Chemical Exposures"

Some more good news for women who breastfeed their babies. A large international study found an association between breastfeeding and an average 24% lower incidence of ovarian cancer years later (when compared to women who never breastfed).

But if you look at the results more closely, you see that the longer the woman breastfeeds, the lower the risk of ovarian cancer - so that breastfeeding for 3 months was associated with an 18% lower risk, while breastfeeding for 12 months or more is associated with a 34% lower risk.

Over the years, other studies found that breastfeeding is associated with a number of health benefits for the mother, such as a lower risk of diabetes and breast cancer.

From Medical Xpress: Breastfeeding linked to lower ovarian cancer risk ...continue reading "Breastfeeding Associated With A Lower Risk Of Ovarian Cancer"

Women: if you sit at work all day, and then you sit 6 or more hours during your leisure time, then you are at significantly greater risk of developing any cancer (compared to women who sit for fewer than 3 hours a day during leisure time). And the odds for certain cancers (multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer, and invasive breast cancer) are greatly increased. That 30 minutes at the gym doesn't cancel out the negative effects of sitting all day. But interestingly, this pattern didn't apply to men. From Medscape:

Leisure Time Sitting Increases Cancer Risk in Women

Women who sit 6 or more hours a day during their leisure time have a 10% greater risk of developing any cancer compared with women who sit for fewer than 3 hours a day. In addition, they are more likely to develop certain site-specific cancers, such as invasive breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and multiple myeloma. However, no similar pattern emerged for men.

"So when we think about independent risk factors for many types of cancer, and definitely for invasive breast cancer, you want to tell women to maintain a physically active lifestyle, to maintain a healthy weight, to limit their alcohol consumption, and now you also want to tell them to reduce their time spent sitting," she said.

The findings come from an analysis of data on some 69,260 men and 77,462 women enrolled in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition. All participants were cancer-free on enrolment. Between 1992 and 2009, 18,555 men and 12,236 women were diagnosed with cancer. On average, men were followed for 13.2 years, and women were followed for an average of 15.8 years.

"In women, leisure-time spent sitting was associated with a statistically significant higher risk of total cancer incidence...after adjustment for physical activity, [body mass index (BMI)], and other potential confounders," the authors report. Sitting 6 or more hours a day during leisure time was also associated with a 65% greater risk for multiple myeloma, a 43% greater risk for ovarian cancer, and a 10% greater risk for invasive breast cancer compared with women who sat less than 3 hours a day during leisure time. The association between longer sitting times and endometrial cancer was statistically significant before adjusting for BMI, but was attenuated when adjusted for BMI.

The same pattern was not seen in men in this study. Leisure time spent sitting was not associated with cancer risk in men, with the exception of an 11% higher risk associated with sitting time among obese men.

"There are a lot of individuals whom I would describe as 'an active couch potato.' " Dr Patel said. "People are going to the gym and maintaining a healthy weight, but they spend the majority of the rest of their time in sedentary activities — sitting at work, sitting in the car, sitting at home — so you really have to think not just of that 30 minutes a day where you are intentionally engaging in physical activity, but what does the rest of your day look like?"

Paternal age of 25 to 29 at conception resulted in the lowest risk of adult-onset hormone related cancers in their daughters. From Science Daily:

Father's age at birth may affect daughter's cancer risk

Paternal age and the health effects it has on potential offspring have been the focus of many studies, but few have examined the effect parental age has on the risk of adult-onset hormone-related cancers (breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer).

A team of City of Hope researchers, lead by Yani Lu, Ph.D., explored this relationship and found that a parent’s age at birth, particularly a father’s age, may affect the adult-onset cancer risk for daughters — especially for breast cancer.

“Our findings indicate that parental age, especially paternal age, at conception appears to be associated with a wide range of effects on the health and development of the offspring,” Lu said.

To help determine the effects of parental age on the risk of adult-onset hormone-related cancers, Lu and her colleagues examined a cohort of 133,479 female teachers and administrators from the California Teachers Study. Between 1995 and 2010, 5,359 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, 515 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 1,110 women were diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

While the team of researchers did not find an association for maternal age at birth for any type of cancer, they found that paternal age is linked to an increased adult-onset cancer risk for daughters – and the link was not only to advanced paternal age.

Women born to a father under the age of 20 had a 35 percent greater risk of breast cancer and more than two times greater risk of ovarian cancer, when compared to those born to a father whose age at his daughter’s birth was 25 to 29 years old.

Women born to a father whose age at childbirth was 30 to 34 years had a 25 percent greater risk of endometrial cancer than those born to a father age 25 to 29.

Lu and her team were not surprised to find a relationship between older fathers and an increased risk of hormone-related cancers, especially since there has been increasing evidence suggesting that daughters born to older fathers have increased risk of breast cancer, noted Lu.

“We observed that young paternal age, as well as advanced paternal age, increase the risk of breast cancer,” said Lu. “We also found that young paternal age increases the risk of ovarian cancer.”