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Air pollution

City Life Boosts Breast Cancer Risk

Thursday, May 22, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: air pollution, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Women who live and work in cities have a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who live in the country, according to research conducted by the Princess Grace Hospital in London and presented to the Radiological Society of North America.

Researchers examined the breast tissue of 972 British women between the ages of 45 and 54. They found that the breasts of women who were living and working in cities were more than twice as likely to be 25 percent or more dense tissue. The difference was most striking among women under the age of 50 and those who worked in London's "Square Mile" district.

Women's breasts are composed of a mixture of dense glandular tissue and fat. A prior Canadian study has demonstrated that women with breasts composed of 25 percent or more dense tissue have five times the breast cancer risk of women with fattier breasts. The same study found that women with dense breasts were 18 times more likely to have a breast tumor detected within one year of a negative mammogram.

Tumors that occur in dense tissue are more difficult to detect by means of mammograms than tumors occurring in fatty tissue.

"Women who live or work in cities should pay greater attention to breast screening," said researcher Kefah Mokbel. "Ironically, uptake of breast screening is lower cities like London than in the countryside."

Researchers hypothesized that the increased breast density in city dwellers may be due to hormone-disrupting toxins contained in air pollution. They also suggested that stress might be a factor.

"We have to focus on better traffic management and find ways to reduce traffic emissions," Mokbel said. "This is an important issue for the public and politicians, and it's vital that we raise awareness of the link we have found."

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