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Other questions you might have

Does tobacco use increase my risk of breast cancer?


While the evidence has not been conclusive, there is growing research linking tobacco use to an increased risk of breast cancer (whether you actively smoke or inhale second-hand smoke). Research suggests that you may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of tobacco smoke if you begin smoking in adolescence. This is because adolescence is a period of rapid development for the breasts, so the breast tissue may be more susceptible to cancer-causing agents. To improve your health and reduce your breast cancer risk, it is recommended that you quit smoking (or don’t take it up) and avoid being exposed to second-hand smoke.


How does being on the birth control pill (or patch) affect my risk of breast cancer?

Being on the birth control pill or contraceptive patch can lead to a small increase in your risk for breast cancer. But the good news is that when you stop using the pill or patch, your risk for breast cancer drops back down, over a period of several years.


Does wearing deodorant increase my risk of breast cancer?

At this time, there is no reliable evidence to suggest that using deodorant or antiperspirant increases your risk for breast cancer. Although a few studies have suggested a possible link, those studies have been critiqued for their methodology. More research continues to be done on this topic.


Can sleeping in a bra cause breast cancer?

At this time there is no scientific evidence that shows a link between sleeping in a bra and developing breast cancer.


Are there chemicals in the environment that I should be concerned about?

Our knowledge of which environmental chemicals can cause breast cancer (and how) is not complete. One chemical currently being studied is bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in plastic containers and tin cans. Some research suggests that BPA may mimic or disrupt hormones (in this case, estrogen) and can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, scientists disagree about the results of these studies and more research continues to be done. Parabens, which are preservatives used in many pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, are also being researched as a potential risk for breast cancer. Parabens are absorbed through the skin, and they have been found in biopsy samples from breast tumours. Some researchers have suggested that parabens increase the risk of breast cancer by mimicking the effects of estrogen, however, more research is needed to establish this link.


Should I be doing regular breast self-exams?

It’s normal for a woman’s breasts to change with her menstrual cycle, during pregnancy or breastfeeding, after weight loss, and as she ages – and every woman’s breasts are different. So while it’s not necessary to follow a specific routine for examining your breasts, it’s important to “Be Breast Aware”. This means knowing what is normal for your breasts at different times. Be familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel so that you notice any changes. Any unusual change should be reported to your health care provider for follow-up. Learn more at: http://www.cbcf.org/breastcancer/bc_aware.asp

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