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Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach

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Breast cancer remains the most common invasive cancer among women. The primary patients of breast cancer are adult women who are approaching or have reached menopause; 90 percent of new cases in U.S. women in 2009 were diagnosed at age 45 or older. Growing knowledge of the complexity of breast cancer stimulated a transition in breast cancer research toward elucidating how external factors may influence the etiology of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer and the Environment reviews the current evidence on a selection of environmental risk factors for breast cancer, considers gene-environment interactions in breast cancer, and explores evidence-based actions that might reduce the risk of breast cancer. The book also recommends further integrative research into the elements of the biology of breast development and carcinogenesis, including the influence of exposure to a variety of environmental factors during potential windows of susceptibility during the full life course, potential interventions to reduce risk, and better tools for assessing the carcinogenicity of environmental factors. For a limited set of risk factors, evidence suggests that action can be taken in ways that may reduce risk for breast cancer for many women: avoiding unnecessary medical radiation throughout life, avoiding the use of some forms of postmenopausal hormone therapy, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, increasing physical activity, and minimizing weight gain.

Breast Cancer and the Environment sets a direction and a focus for future research efforts. The book will be of special interest to medical researchers, patient advocacy groups, and public health professionals.

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Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 2012. Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13263.

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Publication Info

468 pages | 6 x 9
ISBNs:
  • Paperback: 978-0-309-22069-9
  • Ebook: 978-0-309-22073-6
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/13263
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