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Steps Women Can Take to Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

Some Steps Are Proven, Others May Be Recommended but Still Need Research

Ideal Study Hard to Do continued...

“Also,” says Hertz-Picciotto, professor of public health sciences at the UC Davis Health System, “we need to consider possible combined effects of many low-level exposures.”

Still, Hiatt says, “I actually think the time is very exciting for getting some place in this area.”

For example, he says, some studies are now looking at what determines the age at which girls enter puberty. Previous research has shown that the earlier the onset of puberty, the greater the breast cancer risk in adulthood.

And sophisticated molecular approaches can now uncover “fingerprints” left behind by exposures long ago, says Cheryl Lyn Walker, PhD, director of the Institute of Biosciences and Technology at the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Karuna Jaggar MA, executive director of Breast Cancer Action, a San Francisco-based advocacy group, said she was “deeply disappointed” with the report. Instead of encompassing everything from stress to abdominal fat, Jaggar said in a statement, it should have focused on "the chemicals we are all exposed to in our everyday lives."

“The report recommendations for women merely rehash the little bit we already know about lifestyle and breast cancer and miss an opportunity to focus on relatively unknown areas of the environment,” Jaggar said in a statement.

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