In October, when many groups were focused on raising awareness of breast cancer, one group in California was striving to turn the focus around to a more urgent topic – preventing the disease. In fact, that’s what the Breast Cancer Fund does regardless of the month.
Its most recent campaign calls on consumers to ask L’Oreal stop marketing anti-aging products to women with chemicals linked to breast cancer. Some of the company’s anti-aging creams and face powders use PTFE, the same chemical used to create a nonstick surface on some cookware, organizers said. PTFE can be contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) — a toxic chemical linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and reproductive harm. PTFE is the same chemical known by the trade name Teflon.
“We want women to be aware of what is in these products that they may be using every day, and we want them to be protected from these types of dangers that people don’t often talk about,” said Breast Cancer Fund spokeswoman Ena Do. “There’s a lot of awareness about breast cancer so we want to shift the public focus to the prevention of cancer. What can we do to improve our health and our lifestyles?”
The 23-year-old group raises awareness about potentially dangerous chemicals in our everyday environment, sponsors and highlights research on substances associated with cancer and advocates for regulations to better protect consumers.
Earlier this year, the group released a review of the scientific literature on the workplace and breast cancer that uncovered more than 20 occupations associated with a considerably increased risk of breast cancer compared to the general population. They included food and beverage production workers, hairdressers, first responders including police and firefighters, and doctors.
The report revealed a need to be aware of and to reduce the exposure in the workplace to chemicals linked with breast cancer, the group said.
“Because workers are often exposed to carcinogenic or toxic substances at regular doses for long periods of time, they are the modern-day canaries in a coal mine,” said Jeanne Rizzo, president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund. “We are confident that there is a better way forward, and that a cancer-free economy is within our grasp. It’s time to put breast cancer out of work.”
How can Women Reduce their Breast Cancer Risk?
While the Breast Cancer Fund rallies women to lean on companies and advocate for tighter regulations, it also seeks to help women in their daily lives. It can be overwhelming, but women can start with just one thing, whichever sounds the most reasonable or doable, Ena suggested.
A few options:
- Love cosmetics or fancy soaps or lotions? Make it a project to explore safer options.
- Into DIY? Try making your own personal care products or cleaning products.
- Creative in the kitchen? Get creative with new organic foods.
At Ella Health, we’re encouraging women to advance their wellness by taking “Just One” step at a time. Come into our centers to get an Ella Health essentials card with instructions for a breast self-exam and a once-daily set of the Pelvic Perch, an exercise to increase your pelvic health.