Permanent Hair Dye And Chemical Straighteners May Be Linked To Breast Cancer

Laverne Higgins
December 5, 2019

Researchers have found that women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don't use these products.

It seems even a moderate intake-drinking one glass of wine, beer, or any other type of alcohol a day-may raise your risk of breast cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund.

Women who used chemical hair straighteners had a 30 percent higher risk.

Among 46,709 participants, the researchers from the National Institute of Health reported that women who permanently dyed their hair before participating in the study were 9% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn't color their hair.

The study, published Tuesday in the International Journal of Cancer, is making headlines but it does not mean that all women need to immediately stop using hair dyes and straightening products, according to ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. The research team actually found little to no increase in breast cancer risk.

In the late 1970s, some hair dye chemicals were linked with cancer in laboratory animals, so many manufacturers removed these chemicals from their products.

In addition, the study showed association, not cause and effect, so it does not show a "direct causal link" between hair dye and breast cancer, noted Ashton.

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"We are exposed to many things that could potentially contribute to breast cancer, and it is unlikely that any single factor explains a woman's risk", Sandler said.

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"This is a very weak signal that these things might be causing cancer in the population", he says.

NEIGHMOND: The elevations in breast cancer risk may sound high, but Brawley says they don't compare to known risk factors like obesity and lack of exercise. "However, as the article readily admits, more study is necessary". She says she tells women to do the best they can when it comes to protecting themselves from the risk.

Dr. Doris Browne, a medical oncologist and former president of the National Medical Association, suggests women start a conversation with their doctor about their risk for breast cancer. The women, aged between 35 and 74, answered demographic and lifestyle questions, including about their hair product use for the last 12 months.

The risk was notably higher among black women.

Well, there is some good news as temporary or semi-permanent dye use were not strongly linked.

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