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Your Environment. Your Health.

Breast Cancer and the Environment

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

Breast Cancer - Young Women in Pink Shirts

March 15, 2013

In 2013, an estimated 232,000 women and 2,200 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, while approximately 40,000 women will die from it.1 Worldwide, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women.

In Part 1 of this 2-part series, we talk to experts studying how the chemicals and other environmental factors we’re exposed to early in life might contribute to the development of breast cancer later on. In Part 2, we discuss why translating breast cancer research is critical for the decisions we make in our everyday lives.

Breast Cancer and the Environment: Part 1


Sandy Haslam, Ph.D.

Sandra Haslam, Ph.D., is Professor of Physiology and Director of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Center at Michigan State University. She studies how hormones such as estrogen and progesterone control normal breast development as well as their role in breast cancer development. She is also investigating how women’s exposure to estrogen and progestins in the environment (through birth control pills and other products that contain hormone-disrupting chemicals) and adolescent obesity affect breast cancer risk.

Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.

Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University. He is a principal investigator in the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program. His research focuses on the regulation of inflammatory factors. He is currently studying the role of diet and inflammatory processes in mammary gland development and tumorigenesis. Ultimately, this research aims to inform efforts to intervene in the occurrence of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer and the Environment: Part 2


Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., President and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund

Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., President and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, has led the organization to become a national leader in translating the science linking breast cancer and environmental exposures into public education and advocacy campaigns that protect health and reduce breast cancer risk. Ms. Rizzo is past chair of the California Breast Cancer Research Program Council and is a steering-committee member of the program's Prevention Initiative. She is also an appointed member of the National Institutes of Health's Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee and an advisory board member of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science's breast cancer "Sister Study." She is a recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 Green Chemistry Environmental Leader Award.

For More Information

Breast Cancer & the Environment Research Program
Learn more about the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program, a multidisciplinary network of scientists, clinicians, and community partners co-funded by the NIEHS and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Breast Cancer Fund
Get to know the science of environmental exposures and find real-world tips for breast cancer prevention in your home and community.

Breast Cancer Research funded by NIEHS
Learn about our research program, ongoing studies, and other activities.

CDC Breast Cancer Page
Find information about breast cancer data collection, health disparities, screening, research, and community programs from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Interagency Breast Cancer & Environmental Research Coordinating Committee
Read an overview about the work of this committee and their latest report and recommendations.

MSU Breast Cancer & the Environment Research Program
Read research findings and track ongoing research by the MSU BCERP.

National Cancer Institute
Discover information about breast cancer treatment, prevention, genetics, causes, screening, clinical trials, statistics, and research news.

NIEHS Breast Cancer Page
Find information and resources on breast cancer and the environment.

Silent Spring Institute
Learn about the work of this non-profit research organization dedicated to examining the links between the environment and women's health.

UNC Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program
Find breast cancer facts and outreach materials, including instructions and cards for a game of "Reduce Breast Cancer Bingo."

Zero Breast Cancer
Explore news, research, events, and the award-winning video, "The Breast Biologues," from the community-based organization Zero Breast Cancer.


1 American Cancer Society, 2013. Breast Cancer: Key Statistics

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