Another Reason to Eat Chemically Pure Foods
This is an excerpt from an expert oncologist talking about round up and another herbicide that she says is leading to more incidents of breast cancer in women.
Dr. WEISS: Well, most people think it is all about family history and genes you may have inherited from your family. But actually, the breast cancer genes only explain five to 10 percent of breast cancer cases today and those are ancient, stable abnormalities. They haven't changed. But what has changed over the years that explains why the breast has become the favorite place for cancer to occur, are changes in our outside environment and our body's inside environment.
So in terms of the inside environment, with obesity making extra inside hormones that can influence breast cell growth, it also triggers more insulin growth factor. More women are drinking alcohol. More women have not stopped smoking. They've started but they haven't stopped as quickly as men have. We lead very stressful lives. We don't sleep enough. We're running ourselves ragged. We're not giving our bodies a chance to heal from the wear and tear of everyday living; from the outside environment we bring into our body's inside environment what we're - the food, for example, the most commonly grown crops today, corn and soy, are grown with Atrazine and Roundup.
GROSS: What is Atrazine?
Dr. WEISS: Atrazine is an herbicide. It's a weed killer that's used to grow corn. Roundup is a weed killer used to grow in soy. Those seeds are genetically modified to grow in the presence of those chemicals. But we haven't been genetically modified to withstand the side effects of Atrazine and Roundup.
Atrazine can stimulate the production of estrogen in your body by turning on the aromatase enzyme. And Roundup is a hormone disruptor. It can kind of rock the boat and mess up the balances of hormones in your body. But all these chemicals, you know, they are used in agriculture or industry. They can get into the food that we eat, the water we drink and they can have an influence -and unhealthy influence - on our breast cells.
GROSS: Why breast cells and why not different parts of the body?
Dr. WEISS: Well, actually the breast is a very unique organ. It is the only organ to fully essentially, fully form after you've been born. All the other organs and including the very beginning of the breast tissue is formed during the first three months of pregnancy. And during that time, of course, the breast cells are exquisitely sensitive to any kind of genetic insult as they are building themselves. But then the breast is the only organ in the body to actually fully form, and over a 10 year period of time - from ages eight to 18 and into your 20s - and that is when what you're eating, drinking, breathing and using are the actual building blocks and that's when you're laying down the foundation of your future breast health.
So, for example, exposures to DES when you're building your breast tissue in utero produce a higher risk breast cancer, in the mothers as well as the daughters, later in life. Bestinal A can have a permanent effect on the way the breast is formed if you're exposed to it in utero or later on during breast development. So that's one unique thing about the breast.
Also the estrogen receptor that runs operations in most breast cells is like a sponge for all of these different chemicals. While it has a monogamous relationship with estrogen it is ready to respond and it's quite promiscuous when it comes to all these other chemicals and they can turn on breast cell growth. And what has also happened is that girls are going through breast development way earlier.
For African-American girls it can start as early as, you know, age eight -seven or eight. For white girls it's around age 10. For Latino girls it's like nine and a half. And then as soon as the breasts are made, they're ready to respond to these chemicals and the breast cells remain quite immature and over active until the first full-term pregnancy - which is the first time in the life of the breast when the breast is forced to actually fully grow up, get its act together and get a job breastfeeding. And what's happened today is that breast development is happening earlier and earlier and many women are delaying having their first full-term pregnancy or not having children at all or are not breastfeeding. And during that long stretch, the breast cells are immature and very responsive to outside chemicals it may bring into your inside environment.
Those combination of reasons explain, largely, why breast cancer has become the most common cancer to affect women.
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