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Studying possible environmental links to breast cancer

Narrator:             This is Science Today. One of out eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. And while much progress has been made in treating the disease, research scientist Megan Schwarzman of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health says more work needs to be done when it comes to cause and prevention. Schwarzman's work focuses on chemicals in the environment that may contribute to breast cancer.

Schwarzman:      There is more that we can be doing to understand what chemicals might contribute to breast cancer. There are tests for endocrine activity, tests for genotoxicity, we should be looking at how chemicals affect the development of the breast and how they work at different life stages.

Narrator:             Schwarzman explains that there are tens of thousands of chemicals in common use in our environment.

Schwarzman:       We've often, just as a society, put forward this idea that genetics matter more than environment. And in fact, I think the more nuanced truth is that both matter. That sometimes a genetic predisposition loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger.

Narrator:              For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.