Breast Cancer and the Environment: Studied for half a Century, these Women are “a National Treasure”

Women’s Exposures early in Life could unlock Mysteries

Breast cancer and the environment: Studied for half a century, these women are 'a national treasure' width=” When Ida Washington received a letter inviting her to participate in a women’s health study to explore the environmental roots of breast cancer, she didn’t think twice. Her mother was diagnosed with the disease nearly 40 years ago, and since then, it has been a terrifying mystery she has yearned to unravel.

Washington was just a teenager when the lump was found on her mother’s left breast. In the years that followed, as her mother’s cancer went into remission, she began to wonder what caused it. “My mother didn’t smoke, she didn’t drink. Breast cancer didn’t run in the family,” she said

Ida’s mother, Willie Mae Washington, now 92, participated in the first generation of a scientific study that has endured for more than half a century to investigate whether environmental exposures may trigger breast cancer. Now Ida Washington, 52, is continuing the legacy as part of its second generation.

The two women are among the more than 15,000 mothers, daughters and granddaughters in the San Francisco Bay Area enrolled in a project known as the Child Health and Development Studies, launched in 1959. Tens of thousands of samples of the women’s blood are stored, providing more than 50 years of continuous data on health outcomes and environmental exposures.

Scientists tap into this unique trove as they struggle to figure out what role environmental exposures play in the development of diseases such as breast cancer. ” …

… Continue reading Breast cancer and the environment Part 2:
Studied for half a century, these women are ‘a national treasure’environmentalhealthnews, Feb. 26, 2013.

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