Breast cancer and work conditions might be related, says a study that was published recently in Environmental Health, an open access journal from BioMed Central.
Researcher James T Brophy has revealed in his study that presence of carcinogens with endocrine disrupting properties in the work place is the primary reason for working women to develop breast cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer occurring among women, especially in the industrialized countries. North America and the USA have the highest count of patients in this category. The research involves establishing a link between breast cancer and the occupation of women who are suffering from the disease. The occupations which are expected to harbor more of these chemicals are farming and manufacturing industries.
Study on Breast Cancer Patients
The study was a population based one conducted in Ontario, Canada. The sample size was 1006 breast cancer patients from the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre. 1147 community controls were carefully selected to be a part of the study.
Data was collected from this group of participants. It included their occupational history and reproductive history in addition to their health history. The participants were coded according to their work environment and the exposure to chemicals and carcinogens were noted down.
Outcome of the Study
The results of the study were obtained after complete analysis of the data obtained during the study period. It was found that those women who were more exposed to carcinogens at work were the ones who suffered from higher incidence of the disease. The sectors that were high on risk potential for endocrine disrupter carcinogens included agriculture, plastics and automobile industries, food canning and metallurgy based industries and also casinos and pubs.
Another finding of the research was that those women who belonged to lower socio-economic status were at a higher risk of cancer as they were the ones who worked for these manufacturing units across the country.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The results of this study emphasize the need for a national level survey in order to recognize and ban unclassified potential endocrine disrupting chemicals which are responsible for the increasing numbers of breast cancer patients. The national level occupational studies will also enable health department to reevaluate the exposure limits of these chemicals and revamp the regulatory guidelines.