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Work and Breast Cancer
The Breast Cancer Fund, an organization whose mission is to educate the general public about the links between environmental exposures and breast cancer, released a report in August that reviews the scientific literature on the occupational risks associated with the disease. Working Women and Breast Cancer: The State of the Evidence identifies several professions that current research associates with a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer than the general population. In addition to recommending approaches to filling gaps in the current literature, the report makes a number of policy recommendations intended to address what it describes as the United States’ “severely insufficient” system for protecting worker health. Information from the report appears below.
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From Working Women and Breast Cancer: “Breast cancer is diagnosed much more often in post-menopausal women, but exposures early in life can impact risk of its occurrence later. It is therefore important that we study young workers in order to capture these exposures and, ideally, include enough follow-up time within study designs to observe effects later in life. Women at younger ages may be more vulnerable to effects of toxic exposures, as has been seen in occupational studies of ionizing radiation and solvent exposure.”
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