Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. There has been a great deal of controversy about the optimal frequency and timing of mammograms for early detection, but most of the experts agree that once women pass the age of 50, regular mammograms make a difference.
The question of why breast cancer has become so common and how it might be prevented is separate from the problem of mammograms. We talk with Florence Williams about breasts, implants, breast-feeding and breast milk, and how environmental contaminants that act as endocrine disruptors may affect the breasts. Are they contributing to the rising toll of breast cancer? What are the effects of compounds like DDT, perchlorate or flame retardants on the developing infant? Both individual and societal action are needed to protect us all–men, women and children–from the possible harmful effects of environmental chemicals.
For more information on breast cancer, see the National Cancer Institute,
The National Library of Medicine, the Breast Cancer Fund, and the Silent Spring Institute.
There is also information on the clinical trials page of the National Cancer Institute and the Association of Cancer Online Resources.
Guest: Florence Williams is an award-winning journalist who has written for the New York Times, Outside magazine and Slate, among other publications. Her book is Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History. Her website is florencewilliams.com The photo of Florence Williams was taken by Corrynn Cochran.
The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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  1. Laura Corsig
    Reply

    Yes, mothers who smoke one pack or so or less are encouraged to breastfeed. In fact, there are very few maternal contraindications to breastfeeding. Mothers who smoke, however, are advised on dangers associated with infant exposure to cigarette smoke (in the air, bedding as well as in mother’s clothing and hair). Mothers, therefore, need to smoke outside of the house where the infant resides and shower and change clothes before holding their infant and/or nursing. (This recommendation applies to mothers who smoke and formula feed, also.)
    As nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, it is a cause of low milk supply.
    I work in a large, urban hospital and I very rarely am asked this question. Demographics suggest women who do not heed recommendations (warnings) to quit smoking while pregnant, are often the same population who chooses to disregard recommendations to breastfeed.
    Laura Corsig, IBCLC
    International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

  2. jll
    Reply

    Very informative and interesting program. I’m most interested in knowing if a nursing mother who smokes is still better for the infant than formula?
    Any opinions or facts?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: No facts that we know of, except that she should not smoke in her baby’s presence.

  3. EAM
    Reply

    The government funded study of 1200 girls referenced in this show is jointly funded through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), members of the National Institites of Health. The study is called the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program. More information may be found on the NIEHS web site, or you can google BCERP.

  4. Bonni
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago. I had none of the usual risk factors. However, I was one of the thousands of infants who were treated for “an enlarged thymus” with radiation. The research is finally showing a connection between that treatment and later development of breast cancer because the radiated tissue is where the future breast develops.

  5. CSC
    Reply

    The cover image of the book is very clever and creative.

  6. Janis
    Reply

    Thank you, Terry and Joe, for offering this radio program about breast cancer causes and prevention. I have wondered about the cause of my breast cancer, as I grew up in a steel town in W. PA. Breast cancer is so prevalent and we are exposed to so many pollutants.
    I also want to tell readers about a new book I authored: Relax, Reflect, Restore and Recover: Guided Imagery meditations for Women with Breast Cancer. It contains many of the meditations I wrote last year when undergoing treatments for breast cancer. Anyone interested can find this on Amazon.com. It is an Amazon Kindle E Book.

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