Study: Breast cancer linked to traffic pollution

by Kelly MacNeil on October 6, 2010

A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives reveals a link between breast cancer and traffic pollution, reports MontrealGazette.com.

The study was performed by McGill University and Universite de Montreal’s researchers who compared incidents of breast cancer with pollution maps of nitrogen dioxide in Montreal.

Breast cancer diagnosis rates have been rising over the past decade, “Nobody really knows why, and only about one-third of cases are attributable to known risk factors,” said Mark Goldberg, one of McGill’s researchers, according to MontrealGazette.com.

The comparison study revealed a link between post-menopausal breast cancer and exposure to nitrogen dioxide NOsub2/sub where the risk increased by around 25 percent with every increase of NOsub2/sub of five parts per billion.

However, the results do not suggest that pollution causes the disease, but that the obvious link between the two justifies further investigation.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. October is breast cancer awareness month and people across the globe are showing their support for the fight against the disease. The George Washington Bridge lit up in bright pink lights on Saturday under The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s endorsement when one of the bridge’s electricians had the idea to adorn it in pink after his sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, reports NYTimes.com.

The month is garnering increased support from web users as well. Blog and website owners are turning their sites pink for the Pink for October campaign to demonstrate their support. Facebook’s “I like it”campaign has users changing their status updates to phrases such as “I like it on the floor” or “I like it on the couch” to reveal where they keep their purses, a grassroots effort to unite women who carry handbags and encourage people to think about breast cancer.

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