Breast Cancer Awareness is not enough!

Linking Breast Cancer to Toxic chemical exposure - Helen Lynn

Breast Cancer Awareness is not enough:

•Breast cancer is not a rite of passage.

•It is a social justice and human rights issue , and an indication of the state of the environment, all environments.

•It can also be considered an act of violence if we take violence to be as defined by the World Health Organisation"the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation."

Lives behind every statistic

•Breast cancer is the most common cancer in UK women with 55,176 and 390 men diagnosed per year -150/day.

•Deaths - 11,400 women and 85 men per year - 31 woman die from breast cancer each day .

•It’s the 4th most common cause of cancer death and the leading cause of death in women under 50.

•There are an estimated 35,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK.

•Breast cancer deaths in England are more common in females living in the most deprived areas.

•Ethnic variations - patients known to be Black are younger, less likely to be screen-detected and have worse prognosis tumours.

•In around 5% of women, breast cancer has already spread by the time it is diagnosed.

•In the last 25 years in the UK rates have gone from 1 in 12 to 1 in 7

Why women are not the default male

•Lifetime of hormonal changes ie pregnancy, menstruation and menopause

•Different immune systems

•Thinner skin

•Detox more slowly

•More fat tissue

•Affected differently by chemicals and pollution

•Smaller than men

What's Needed

•Reframe/redo/refit/our approach to breast cancer.

•Three-pronged approach – equal footing - equal funding -equal action on treatment and care, safer detection and primary prevention.

•Aim of zero occupational and environmental cancer.

•A complete refit of existing cancer plans, and strategies updated for the 21st century to deal with 21st risk factors.

•Increase the spending on research into the primary prevention of cancer from under 5% to at least 35%.

•Medical establishment can lead the way by up to date training on recognizing occupational and environmental illness and disease including pesticide poisoning especially in areas where exposure is most likely.

•All research data to be collected and broken down by sex.

•The UK needs to follow the EU on chemicals policy.

•We need to put the public back into public health and start from the premise that safe and healthy working conditions are a human right.

Further Information:




Protecting female healthworkers from ionising radiation at work | The BMJ 

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