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Textile Work May Increase Risk

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Your personal risk of breast cancer is the result of many factors. Some of these factors, such as your genes and your family history, are things you can't control. Others, such as what you eat, maintaining a healthy weight, and minimizing your exposure to chemicals in the environment, are things you can control.

To try and understand how certain factors might increase breast cancer risk, researchers look at breast cancer rates in different groups of women. The study looked at women who were grouped by the type of jobs they had. Though this study is small, it suggests that certain jobs and eating habits may affect breast cancer risk.

Factors that seemed to increase breast cancer risk:

  • Working in the clothing or textile industry.
  • Radiation exposure (a potential risk for women who work in hospital x-ray departments).
  • Family history of breast cancer.

Factors that seemed to reduce breast cancer risk:

  • Eating a diet that's high in fiber and low in salt.
  • Working in an administrative position.

The researchers suggest that the higher risk of breast cancer in women with industrial jobs may be related to exposure to cancer-causing substances. If you work in a factory and think you may be exposed to potential cancer-causing substances, raise your concerns with your manager or someone in the company's occupational health department. Switching jobs can be difficult to do and you can't control your family history. But you can control what you eat.

While you can't control all breast cancer risk factors, you can control quite a few of them. Visit the Lower Your Risk section to learn more about breast cancer risk and how you can lower yours.

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