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Contraceptives and hair dyes may increase the risk of breast cancer

Posted March 10, 2017

Modern lifestyle has some very serious negative consequences for our health. They are difficult to research and life style changes are hard to make too. Now scientists from the University of Helsinki discovered that hormonal intrauterine devices and some hair dying product may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Hair dying may be increasing the risk of breast cancer, but scientists will have to conduct more research in order to confirm it. Image credit: Apolo Salomão Sales via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientists surveyed 8000 breast cancer patients and 20 000 women as a control group to see if hormonal contraceptives and hair dyes contribute to a higher risk of breast cancer. This study revealed that intrauterine contraceptive devices are increasing the risk of breast cancer quite significantly – by 52 % for post-menopausal women. Meanwhile other hormonal contraceptives were associated with 32% higher breast cancer risk among women under 50. Interestingly, hair dyes can also be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. Scientists found that those women who had their hair dyed were 23 % more likely to develop the condition.

What do these results mean? Not much, actually. To confirm the role of hormonal contraceptives, most specifically hormonal intrauterine device, and hair dyes in developing breast cancer much more research needs to be done. This study just found first evidence that it may be true, but no interpretations or conclusions can be drawn now. However, Sanna Heikkinen, author of the study, can name some factors that can contribute to a higher risk of breast cancer. She said: “The biggest risk factor in breast cancer is high age, and known lifestyle-related risk factors include late age at first birth, small number of children, high alcohol consumption, and sedentary lifestyle”.

All these factors are becoming more and more common, especially in western countries. It is important that women get regular checks when they reach a certain age. They should also pay a closer attention while showering and feel for lumps or some irregularities in their bodies. However, scientists warn that opportunistic mammography, when women spontaneously decide to go and get the exam done before the age of 50, is not a good idea. If no symptoms can be observed, women should not ask for mammography, because radiation accumulates and results of these exams may not be accurate.

Everyone should pay more attention to the signals that bodies are sending. Some features of a modern lifestyle cannot be changed easily, but people could at least have regular check-ups after reaching a certain age.


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