Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hair Straightening Chemicals Not Linked To Breast Cancer Risk In African-Americans

Date:
May 17, 2007
Source:
American Association for Cancer Research
Summary:
Chemical "relaxers" used to straighten hair are not associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer among African-American women, say researchers who followed 48,167 Black Women's Health Study participants.

Chemical "relaxers" used to straighten hair are not associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer among African-American women, say researchers who followed 48,167 Black Women's Health Study participants.

In the May issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers from Boston University and Howard University Cancer Center found no increase in breast cancer risk due to the type of hair relaxer used or the frequency and duration of use. Women who used relaxers seven or more times a year over a 20 year span or longer had the same risk as women who used the chemicals for less than a year, researchers say.

"This is good news," said the study's lead investigator, Lynn Rosenberg, Sc.D., professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health. "The present study is definitive that hair relaxers don't cause breast cancer, as much as an epidemiologic study can be."

Previous research shows that breast cancer incidence is higher among African-American women age 40 or younger than among Caucasian women of the same age, and this increased risk is not fully explained by known risk factors, such as race and family history. At all ages, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer than are Caucasian women. To shed light on these findings and to study potential causes of breast cancer and other serious illnesses that affect black women, the Black Women's Health Study was launched across the United States in 1995. More than 59,000 women completed an initial questionnaire and more than 80 percent have answered follow-up questions every two years since, including questions about use of hair relaxers.

Hair relaxers can enter the body through cuts or lesions in the scalp. These products are not fully monitored by the Food and Drug Administration, and thus could contain potentially harmful compounds, Rosenberg said. Manufacturers of hair relaxers and hair dyes are not required to list all ingredients of their products on the packages, as some may be considered trade secrets, she said.

"Because hair relaxers are more widely used by younger African-American women than they are used by older African-American women, a connection with increased risk of breast cancer in younger women seemed possible," Rosenberg said. "Also, millions of African-American women use hair relaxers, and substances that are used by millions of women over a span of many years should be monitored for safety."

The researchers found that younger women used hair relaxers more than older women did. They also discovered that the majority of women used hair relaxers before age 20 and a third used the chemicals at least seven times a year. But when they examined the association between use of hair relaxers and breast cancer, based on 574 newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer identified during the follow-up period, they found no connection between use of relaxers and breast cancer incidence overall or among the younger women, even if use had been frequent and of long duration.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute. Co-authors include Julie Palmer, Sc.D., and Deborah Boggs, M.S., of Boston University School of Public Health, and Lucile Adams-Campbell, Ph.D., of Howard University Cancer Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association for Cancer Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Association for Cancer Research. "Hair Straightening Chemicals Not Linked To Breast Cancer Risk In African-Americans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517063024.htm>.
American Association for Cancer Research. (2007, May 17). Hair Straightening Chemicals Not Linked To Breast Cancer Risk In African-Americans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517063024.htm
American Association for Cancer Research. "Hair Straightening Chemicals Not Linked To Breast Cancer Risk In African-Americans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517063024.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins