Breast Cancer UK has just awarded a grant to Dr Philippa Darbre at Reading University to support scientific research into the presence of UV filters in human breast tissue taken from patients with primary breast cancer. It is part of a longer term project to identify multiple environmental chemicals in the human breast and to understand why there is a disproportionate incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast.
UV filters are added to a wide range of personal care products (not just sunscreens) but some are known to have oestrogenic effects. It is widely accepted that oestrogenic chemicals may contribute to breast cancer development if they enter the breast. Whilst the presence of UV filters in the breast in itself will not prove a causal link to breast cancer, if UV filters are found at high concentrations in breast regions at high risk of cancer, it will pose serious and fundamental questions about the link between the two and whether the use of UV filters in products should be curbed.
The project is likely to take around 12 months.