Cancer Research UK reassures women over breast cancer chemicals study

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has said that a report on a possible link between environmental chemicals and breast cancer should not alarm women as it does not draw on all the available evidence and does not reflect the scientific consensus on breast cancer risk.

The paper was compiled by Andreas Kortenkamp of the School of Pharmacy at London University for the environmental charity WWF.

It says that more than 50 per cent of breast cancer cases are of unknown cause, and proposed that more research be carried out to investigate whether they may be due to exposure to chemicals which disrupt the hormonal balance of the body.

"People should not be alarmed by this report as it does not present any new findings and does not review all of the evidence available," said Josephine Querido, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK.

"There is considerable public concern about whether hormone-disrupting chemicals - both in the environment and in household goods - affect breast cancer risk.

"But it has not been proven conclusively that they do, and a number of studies have contradicted the suggestion.

"Compared with the levels of natural oestrogen circulating in a woman's blood, the levels of these chemicals are very small indeed.

"The increase in breast cancer rates in the last few decades has been linked to lifestyle changes.

"These include the trend for women to have fewer children later in life, increased bodyweight in post menopausal women, the use of hormone treatments like HRT and the pill and increasing alcohol consumption."