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Hair Dyes Linked to Breast Cancer Risk: Study
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have discovered that women who use permanent hair dyes and chemical hair straighteners face an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who do not use the products.
The study , which was published in the International Journal of Cancer on December 4, 2020, indicated that the breast cancer risk increased with the frequency of use of the chemical hair products. Specifically, the researchers found that women who had regularly used permanent hair dyes within the last year were 9% more likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not use the dyes.
The authors of the study also found that chemical hair dyes and straighteners contain over 5,000 chemicals.
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Hair Straighteners and Breast Cancer
The NIH study also uncovered an association between the use of chemical hair straighteners and a heightened risk for breast cancer. The researchers determined that women who used chemical hair straighteners at least every 5 to 8 weeks were nearly 30% more likely to be subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.
Links between hair straightener use and breast cancer development were generally consistent between both African American women and white women. However, the study found that straightener use was more prevalent among African American women.
The hair straighteners and breast cancer links only apply to chemical products, the study's authors concluded.
Hair Dye, Chemical Straighteners Linked to Breast Cancer: CBS News Video
What's the Difference Between a Hair Straightener and a Hair Relaxer?
Hair relaxers straighten the hair by breaking the disulfide bonds within the strands themselves, allowing them to be physically manipulated and rearranged. This makes the hair softer and more manageable.
Chemical hair straighteners, by contrast, exist on a broad spectrum of methods. It’s a process that you can perform in your own home or spend hundreds of dollars to have performed at a salon.
Hair straighteners work by changing the structure of the hair by breaking the hydrogen bonds in the hair. Hydrogen bonds are located in the cortex, and it is these bonds that cause the hair to curl.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer, and the kind of cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. The most common forms of breast cancer are:
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma - The cancer cells begin in the ducts and then grow into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread (metastasize) to other areas in the body.
- Invasive Lobular Carcinoma - Cancer cells begin in the lobules and then spread to nearby breast tissues. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
How Does Breast Cancer Begin?
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow abnormally. These cells have the potential to grow out of control and invade the surrounding tissues. When this occurs, it is referred to as invasive breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people do not have any symptoms at all (asymptomatic). When they do present, symptoms of breast cancer may include:
- New lump in the breast or underarm
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
- Breast pain
Is Breast Cancer the Leading Cause of Death in American Women?
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer has the second highest cancer death after lung cancer for women in the United States. However, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death for women worldwide.
Breast Cancer Survival Rate
The 5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer (based on women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2011 and 2017) are:
|SEER Stage||5-year Relative Survival Rate|
|All SEER stages combined||90%|
How is Breast Cancer Treated?
Most women undergo surgery for breast cancer and many also receive additional treatments including chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation. Chemotherapy might also be used before surgery in some cases.
Get a Free Hair Relaxer Breast Cancer Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Products Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in hair relaxer breast cancer lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one was diagnosed with breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine cancer, or uterine fibroids after using hair relaxers or hair straighteners, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and our product liability lawyers can help.