Dec 09, 2019 07:54 AM EST
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The researchers claimed that black women are more likely to develop breast cancer due to how frequent they use chemical hair straightener.
If you use permanent hair dye or chemical hair straightener a lot, you probably need to lessen or stop after a recent study claimed that it could increase your risk for breast cancer.
At least 46,000 women have participated in the research published on Wednesday in the International Journal of Cancer. It found that participants who used permanent hair dye in the year before joining the study have an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who do not.
It is especially worse for black women, with 45 percent, compared to white women, with 7 percent only.
Additionally, the frequency also worsens the situation. For instance, if a black woman uses hair dye every five to eight weeks, the risk will elevate to 60 percent.
The chemical hair straightener, on the other hand, does not have a significant discrepancy, as the risk for both races is the same, with 18 percent. However, it is also noted that black women are far more likely to use the product.
The study also found another interesting observation: women who get their hair dyed by a professional stylish have a lesser risk. The authors theorized that it could be because of some of these products have harmful yet undocumented chemicals.
Some chemicals they mentioned are aromatic amines and various tobacco smoke and industrial byproducts.
Associated but not the cause
Even with those results, the authors pointed out that this study only analyzed whether those hair products would increase the risk of breast cancer. It never claimed that chemical hair straightener and permanent hair dye will cause it.
All participants of the study have a family history of breast cancer, which makes them susceptible to acquiring the same illness.
Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that the limited scientific information will make it hard to confirm whether those products can really cause cancer.
The professor, who is not involved in the study, suggested that a longitudinal study that will involve thousands of black women could give a definite answer. However, it is considered impractical and unethical.
What is breast cancer?
The American Cancer Society defined breast cancer as tumors in breasts that have gone out of control. Although it is normally associated with females, males can suffer from it on rare occasions.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2016 that breast cancer incidence is rising. Although the rate is about the same on both white and black women, the latter is more likely to die from it.
The symptoms might develop slowly but it will worsen as time passes. Some symptoms include lumps in the breast or underarm, swelling of part of the breast, redness or flaky skin in the nipple area, and nipple discharge.
People who have a family history of breast cancer are especially at risk of getting it. Talking to your doctors to mitigate the risk is highly recommended. Aside from medication, some surgeries like breast reduction and ovary-removal might be suggested.
How cancer cells develop is not fully understood yet. There are multiple factors were already been proven to cause cancer — and most of them are controllable, according to Brawley.
Using tobacco products, obesity, inadequate workout and consuming excessive calories were all proven to be linked with at least 12 different cancers, including breast cancers.
Alcohol consumption is also previously reportedly increased the risk of cancer and it is higher compared to chemical dyes and straighteners.
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