Permanent Hair Dyes And Straighteners Increase Women's Risks Of Breast Cancer

Permanent hair dye and straighteners may increase breast cancer risk

Based on a 2017 review of 119 studies involving 12 million women from around the globe, the authors found that for every 10 grams of alcohol-that's 3.3 ounces, less than a typical juice glass-breast cancer risk increased 5 percent for pre-menopausal women and 9 percent for post-menopausal women.

Noting that the study only tracked a small cohort of women who developed breast cancer and omitted to control for other cancer risks such as age and health history, more research is needed to link the use of either hair treatment to breast cancer. Straighteners are much more commonly used among black women.

For black women, the risk could be as high as 45% which the study suggests is likely due to different chemicals in hair products specifically for black women's hair texture. "It's also possible that the application method or the amount of dye required might be influencing the difference". Although the risk of breast cancers from hair straightening was similar among all women in general, African-American women used hair straighteners more frequently. And that number jumped to a 60% higher risk if the product was applied every five to eight weeks or more.

A team from the US National Institutes of Health is raising concerns that popular hair dyes and chemical straighteners could increase the risk of developing breast cancer, but don't go as far as saying their use should stop immediately.

The conclusions were even more alarming for African-American women. There may be a reason for that: Hair dye is heavily associated with cancer. To reduce risk, researcher White says women might want to choose these products instead.


There was little to no increase in breast cancer risk among women who used semi-permanent or temporary hair dyes, however.

One reason for this statistic could be that medical professionals tend to find this cancer at an earlier stage in white women.

Well, breast cancer is rarely caused by one thing only.

The risk was notably higher among black women.

According to Browne, the key lesson from this study for both doctors and patients is that "when we are aware of a new association (of breast cancer risk) we need to increase our surveillance" to include this potential risk factor in doctor-patient discussions. "It is for certain that obesity, consuming too many calories and lack of exercise is a risk factor for breast cancer, a definite risk factor", he says, while the findings of this study only add up to a "perhaps" when it comes to risk.

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