The Biggest Breast Cancer Risk Factor That No One Is
During October, women are bombarded with media telling
us what we can do to stop breast cancer. Article after article
after television human interest segment informs us about personal risk
factors such as smoking and being overweight (although 70 percent of
women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have none of these factors)
and about genetic risks (which only account for 10 percent of breast
cancers.) We are bombarded with stories about the importance of getting
mammograms and other tests. Then there are the survivor stories
(usually about women much younger, whiter and cover-girl prettier than
the average breast cancer survivor) that pull at our heartstrings. But
there is very little mention of environmental factors
such as auto exhaust, and chemicals like parabens and
phthalates that we are exposed to every day.
The most deafening silence, however, is about
radiation, which is a 100 percent known cause of cancer. We are exposed to
radiation in a variety of ways, through X-rays, CT scans and
mammograms, but also by living near a nuclear power plant or having
been exposed to weaponry that uses depleted uranium.
is geoscientist who has been working for a number of years to raise
awareness about the dangers of radiation, an issue she became concerned
about after hearing Native American women who live near areas where
nuclear weapons have been tested talk about cancer and other health
problems they are experiencing and by a visit to Nagasaki and
Hiroshima, Japan. In this interview, she talks about what we know about
the relationship between radiation and breast cancer.
Lucinda Marshall: In your recent article
published in Namaste magazine, "Populations Exposed to
Environmental Uranium: Increased Risk of Infertility and Reproductive
Cancers," you wrote about a scientific study that found that "radiation
is the only known cause of breast cancer in mice" and about findings
that show that Navajo women who live near uranium mining operations
have very high rates of breast cancer. What does that tell us about the
connection between uranium and radiation and cancer?
Leuren Moret: The scientific study that found
"radiation is the only known cause of breast cancer in mice" was
conducted at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, home of the
Manhattan Project -- the World War II atomic bomb development project
which produced the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs -- and where
they have been studying the biological/environm ental effects of
radiation for 68 years. After billions of dollars in research funds,
however, they could never identify the cause of breast cancer in women.
The newest published peer-reviewed study,
by a Navajo researcher, provides the scientific evidence published by
U.S. government sources that low levels of uranium in drinking water,
below EPA drinking water standards, is an estrogen and hormone
disruptor. The animal studies are important because we have the same
hormones and similar estrogen responses as animals.
Before 1945, cancer mortality was very rare. Large
increases in cancer mortality in the past 100 years begin with the
Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. A
Japanese government map of the major causes of death in Japan from 1899
to 2004 shows that cancer mortality increased rapidly after 1945. With
the introduction of each new nuclear technology since 1945 --
atmospheric testing, nuclear power plants, depleted uranium -- it is
obvious that ionizing radiation is a major cause of cancer globally,
and uranium is a major radioactive component of nuclear weapons,
including depleted uranium weapons systems introduced to the
battlefield in 1991 in Gulf War I.
This breast cancer map from Centers for Disease Control
data (see below illustration) identifies that within a 100-mile radius
of nuclear reactors is where two-thirds of all U.S. breast cancer
deaths occurred between 1985 and 1989. The map (see below illustration)
of nuclear power plants in the U.S. identifies them as the major cause
of breast cancer in the U.S., as well as nuclear weapons labs in New
Mexico, Idaho, Washington and California. This is further confirmed by
the breast cancer clusters identified in Japan and California, which
occurred where it rained the day the Chernobyl radiation cloud passed
over and the rain deposited the fission products in the environment.
Breast Cancer Deaths (1985-89) and Nuclear Power Plants
Marshall: Given that radiation is a known cause of
cancer, it is really frustrating to me that it gets so little attention
in the popular media's discussion of breast cancer. In fact, most of
what we read and hear is focused on finding "the cure" rather than the
cause. Why do you think that is?
Moret: Western science was set up and established in
London beginning in the 1600s by the Royal Society, to serve the needs
of the international bankers and the industrialists. For that reason,
much of Western science is actually "politicized science." In the past
century, the financier elite were heavily involved in getting rich from
world wars and the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)
that Western science has developed. The health effects of those WMDs
must be hidden from the public or they would catch on to WMDs as the
cause of huge increases in chronic illnesses and refuse to pay the
taxes that secretly support development of WMDs. The Atomic Energy
Commission and the military set up the EPA, NIH, NCI and CDC to hide
the health and environmental effects of nuclear technologies from the
public. It took me eight years doing research 18 hours a day to
discover this truth. The University of California is the main WMD
contractor for the international financial elite, and for that reason
it will forever be known as "the university that poisoned the world."
The pharmaceutical companies that manufacture breast
cancer drugs fund the
breast cancer NGOs, so they control the focus in the popular media on
finding "the cure." They would be acting against their own best
interests if they identified the cause.
We had a monumental battle in the City of Berkeley with
we passed Oct. 10, 2000, naming October as "Stop Cancer Where it Starts
Month," which focused on the cause and prevention of cancer, even
naming ionizing radiation as a cause. But we did it!
Marshall: It strikes me as quite peculiar that since
genetic damage caused by radiation is cumulative over a lifetime that
the medical community advocates that women, particularly those with no
risk factors, get routine yearly mammograms. I'm also wondering about
the use of radiation as a treatment for breast cancer. According to
Breast Cancer Fund's "State of the Evidence 2008,
"Women older than age 55 derive less benefit from radiation therapy in
terms of reduced rate of local recurrence and may face increased risks
of radiation-induced cardiovascular complications, as well as secondary
cancers such as leukemias and cancers of the lung, esophagus, stomach
and breast. Using SEER data from the National Cancer Institute,
researchers showed a 16-fold increased relative risk of angiosarcoma of
the breast and chest wall following irradiation to a primary breast
cancer. That seems like an awfully dangerous "cure" to me.
Moret: Dr. John W. Gofman was a very rare
radiation researcher, citizen scientist, and a gift to humanity. He was
a physicist and an M.D., and worked on the biological effects of
radiation at the Lawrence Livermore Lab until they cut off his research
funds and he returned to the UC Berkeley faculty. His books, Preventing
Breast Cancer (1996) and Radiation From Medical Procedures in
the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease (1999), are
extremely important research works which identify the dangers of
ionizing radiation in medical procedures. His work was acknowledged in
the recent BEIR VII report by the
National Academy of Sciences. His was a rare voice of
sanity warning us about the extreme dangers of mammograms. He told me
that for every case of breast cancer identified through mammograms,
five new cases of breast cancer are caused by the diagnostic use of
radiation in mammograms. It sounds like a good way, for the medical
industry, to generate repeat business and large profits.
Marshall: I also want to ask you what your thoughts
are on the new molecular breast imaging (MBI) test, which is reportedly
more effective than mammograms at finding breast cancers in dense
breast tissue, but exposes women to 8 to 10 times more radiation than
they receive with mammograms.
Moret: If the molecular breast imaging test exposes a
woman to 8 to 10 times more radiation than mammograms, and mammograms
are known to create five new cases of breast cancer for every case they
identify, then it is not an option. I think the best option for women
is to regularly practice breast self-exams.
Marshall: It seems to me that if we really want to
"cure" breast cancer, we need to work toward preventing it by limiting
our exposure to known carcinogens, especially radiation. Can you
elaborate on what kind of research needs to be funded and what kinds of
policy changes are needed, and steps that we as individuals can take to
ensure that we refocus our efforts to end breast cancer?
Moret: I think it is very clear from the data I have
gathered from governments around the world, including U.S. government
data, that ionizing radiation is the main cause of breast cancer ...
and other cancers. The focus now should be on educating the public
about how to minimize exposure risk to ionizing radiation. Drinking
water and dairy products are the two main pathways of exposure to
ionizing radiation. If you Google Video my name, Leuren Moret,
there are many interviews and presentations of mine on the Internet
providing the information people need to understand more about this
Reverse osmosis filters should be in every home to
purify the drinking water and remove radioactive isotopes from the
water. The filter systems are about $500, which is very cheap compared
to the cost of radiation-caused illnesses. The global atmospheric
pollution of Planet Earth with depleted uranium from our radioactive
battlefields in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan is contaminating
drinking water globally. Each day as the depleted uranium bombing
continues in faraway countries, the need for an effective water filter
system is more important because the uranium is here in two weeks.
Uranium levels in Los Angeles drinking water doubled in 2007 alone --
in just one year.
Being aware of which dairies are located downwind from
nuclear power plants is critical in purchasing dairy products. For
example, in California, two main dairy regions are located in the
Fresno area, which is directly downwind from Diablo Canyon nuclear
power plant, and the Imperial Valley area, which is downwind from San
Onofre nuclear power plant.
The most shocking discovery I made is a dairy industry report on widespread
use of imported contaminated milk protein powder in junk food. Although
contaminated with radioactivity, foot and mouth disease, mad cow
disease, bubonic plague and drugs, it is imported and used by U.S. food
manufacturers. They use it because it increases profits.
Most aspects of breast cancer can be linked to profits,
unfortunately, rather than a woman's right to have a healthy body. We
need to take the profit out of breast cancer.
Lucinda Marshall the founder of the Feminist Peace Network. She has
written numerous articles about the corporate conflict implicit in the
marketing of breast cancer awareness.
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
Republican Mantra: "The sky is falling! The sky is falling! There
are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we are all going to die!
We must kill thousands and thousands of people so we will not die!
Iran is building nuclear weapons! We are all going to die! We must
bomb them so we will not die! Wall Street executives need our money or
the economy will collapse and we will all die! We must mortgage the
future for generations to come so we will not die! There will be
blackouts and brownouts and people will die! We must have more nuke
plants and coal plants! Then people will not die!" I am getting
really sick of this tactic. - Barbara