Our Key Messages

One in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Whilst improved methods of detection and treatment are vital, breast cancer should be considered a preventable, not inevitable, disease.

There is increasing scientific evidence that the environment in which we live is also a key factor in breast cancer risk.

For any public health strategy to be effective, it must include cancer risks which arise from life-long, multiple exposures to environmental pollutants, even at low levels.

We are the only breast cancer charity which focuses on the environmental and chemical causes of the disease.



Q:  What does Breast Cancer UK do?

A:  Breast Cancer UK aims to tackle the environmental and chemical contaminants associated with breast cancer.   We believe that our exposure to cocktail of chemicals, present in many everyday products, could be affecting breast development in a way that is making us more vulnerable to breast cancer.  We believe far more can be done, via better public health policies and chemicals regulation to help prevent breast cancer before it starts. 

Q: Why are you concerned about certain chemicals?

A: Research shows that high levels of oestrogen in a woman’s body puts her at increased risk of getting breast cancer.  Some chemicals mimic oestrogen and mess up our natural hormones.  They’re known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs and could be increasing our risk of breast cancer.

Q: What chemicals are you concerned about? 

A:  We are exposed to thousands of chemicals on a daily basis - not all of them are harmful. Water is a chemical, oxygen is a chemical!  We are made up of chemicals.  But some chemicals can cause cancer – these are known as carcinogens and others can interfere with our hormones – these are knowns as Endocrine or hormone disrupting chemicals (EDCs).  Unfortunately many everyday products continue to contain known or suspected EDCs – for example they are used in plastics, cosmetics, as preservatives in food and drink and in packaging.   Currently chemicals regulation is inadequate to help protect us against exposure to EDCs. 

Q:  What is Breast Cancer UK calling for?

A:  Breast Cancer UK wants exposure to harmful chemicals included as risk factors in the national cancer prevention strategies.  We are calling for better chemicals regulation to protect the general public from routine exposure to harmful chemicals linked to breast cancers.

Breast Cancer UK want to protect future generations from breast cancer by providing the right advice to pregnant women and parents of young children now  because evidence suggests that these early exposures could be making us more vulnerable to developing the disease later in life. 

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