Avis Antel

In September 2002, Gerry Rogers, director of the film "My Left Breast," gave the keynote address at BCAM's annual general meeting. She spoke of worldwide escalating breast cancer rates, not only among the general population but specifically in younger women, despite the fact that 92% of these women had no known risk factors.

At the time, there was no reliable research explaining why the incidence of cancer was significantly increased in areas where the population had been exposed to unusually high levels of pesticides.

A recent study from Université Laval and the Institut national de santé publique in Québec may finally explain how a key compound found in DDT accelerates the growth of breast cancer tumours. Findings suggest that DDT's main metabolite blocks a hormone pathway that would otherwise help inhibit growth in normally responsive breast cancer cells.

DDT was widely used as an insecticide in the United States from1945 through the 1970s and has been linked to breast cancer in previous studies. It was banned in the U.S. because of concerns about its effects on environment and health but it continues to be used in some countries and has been advocated for control of malaria.

Source: Aubé M, Larochelle C, Ayotte P. 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl) ethylene (p, p'-DDE) disrupts the estrogen-androgen balance regulating the growth of hormone-dependent breast cancer cells. Breast Cancer Research 2008, Feb 14; 10(1): R16