Permanent hair dye may raise risk of breast cancer, study claims

Permanent hair dye risks breast cancer

Women who used hair straighteners at least every five to eight weeks were about 30 percent more likely to get breast cancer, according to the study, though its authors say the results need to be replicated in future studies.

Using data obtained from the Sister Study, researchers found that permanent dye use was associated with 45% higher breast cancer risk in black women and a 7% higher risk in white women. "In our study, we see a higher breast cancer risk associated with hair dye use".

Although the results are intriguing, experts opine that women who have used such hair-styling products in the past should not be concerned about their risks of breast cancer. "It's also possible that the application method or the amount of dye required might be influencing the difference". The women, aged between 35 and 74, answered demographic and lifestyle questions, including about their hair product use for the last 12 months.

It followed 46,700 cancer-free women whose sisters had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"Researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent", Alexandra White, Ph.D., a study author and head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Environment and Cancer Epidemiology Group, said in a press release.

Based on their conclusions, the AICR states that 1 in 3 cases could be prevented if women did not drink alcohol, were physically active, and maintained a healthy weight.

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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.

I believe women should be aware of this research because millions use these products. For heavy use of hair dye (defined as once or more every five to eight weeks) the risk increased to 60% for black women and 8% for white women. However black women are more likely to use them, with about 75% of black women in the study reporting they straighten their hair.

PHOTO: In this stock photo a women appears to have her hair colored. The research team found little to no increase in breast cancer risk for semi-permanent or temporary dye use.

Well, breast cancer is rarely caused by one thing only. Also, Black women are more often found to have triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive type that frequently returns after treatment.

The risk was notably higher among black women. "While it is too early to make a firm recommendation, avoiding these chemicals might be one more thing women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer".

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