unknown about our industrialized world is resulting in record
numbers of breast cancer victims. The international race to
find the causes of breast cancer is the subject of THE MYSTERY OF
BREAST CANCER, a one-hour documentary being developed for broadcast
on U.S. PBS stations and international channels
with the assistance of a
distinguished advisory board
It was not until cancer
registries were developed, and new cases of breast cancer counted
as they occurred, that we began to realize an epidemic was
unfolding. Diet is an obvious candidate: more processing,
less fiber, more fat. But intense research has so far failed
to see an obvious connection. So whatís next -- Air
pollution? Smoking? Cell phones? Hair spray? Tight bras? Bad
movies? The list goes mercilessly on.
another front, basic scientists have been madly grinding out the
details of exactly what a breast cancer cell is and how it
works. A startling breakthrough came with the understanding
that cancer begins in just one cell among billions of normal
neighbors in the breast tissue. For some reason, it happens
that in one renegade cell its DNA is damaged, or mutated, in two
ways at the same time: It no longer wants to cooperate with its
neighbors and it refuses its genetic duty to kill itself.
Most damaged cells are programmed to realize they must kill
themselves for the sake of the community; cancer cells do not.
do these DNA mutations happen? Out of normalcy can come
perversion: Without normal breast tissue development, and the cell
division required for that development, cancer cells would not
occur. As breast tissue develops, cells divide many, many
times. Each division provides the opportunity for
mutations. If the tissue is growing rapidly, and cells
dividing faster than necessary, more mutations can happen.
It turns out that the greatest influence on development is
studying this new biology suggest a path of discovery of what in
our modern life is causing breast cancer in women?
the hormone that so strongly affects a womanís health and well
being, may, in excess, be the leading cause of breast
cancer. This could be the key. There may now be a
path. If so, then what are the factors -- environmental,
dietary, occupational, or otherwise -- that raise estrogen levels
in women in the modern world?
are two types of estrogen in a womanís body: that which she made
herself (endogenous) and that which has been added to her body
(exogenous) by such things as oral contraceptives or hormone
replacement therapy. Interestingly, a womanís lifetime risk may
be strongly influenced by her motherís estrogen level prior to
her birth. But the root question remains: What is raising estrogen
in women, both mothers and daughters?
seem to be getting closer to finding aspects of modern life that cause
breast cancer: factors that raise estrogen may be the answer. Until we do know
better how to prevent it, breast cancer will afflict one in nine women in the United
States and a growing number of women in other countries. Improved treatment strategies are good; prevention is
for more information coming soon ...