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Hair dye, chemical relaxers can elevate risk of developing breast cancer


Common salon hair treatments can drastically increase the risk of breast cancer, a study suggests.Researchers at Rutgers University found there was an alarming increase in risk of developing the disease when certain women used dark hair dye and chemical relaxers.

Black women who dyed their hair had a 51 percent increase in risk and white women who used relaxers had a 74 percent increase in risk.Previous research has suggested there was a link between harsh hair treatments and breast cancer, but most studies don’t include black women.

Now experts are using these findings to further investigate the danger of using chemical products on the body. The study was conducted by researchers at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.


Experts asked more than 4,000 black and white women in the New Jersey and New York area their habits of dying, relaxing or using deep conditioning creams.Researchers then examined the study participants’ medical history to see if these products elevated the risk of breast cancer.

Black women who used dark hair dye had an overall 51 percent greater risk of the cancer. They also had a 72 percent increased risk of developing estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, which is the most common type of the disease.

White women who used chemical relaxers/straighteners had a 74 percent increase in risk. In general, black women have an 11 percent chance of developing the disease and white women have a 13 percent chance.

Professor and study lead author Adana Llanos said: “One hypothesis is that the chemical composition of hair products marketed for and used among whites may differ from the products marketed for use by African-Americans.”

The researchers speculated this increase may have something to do with DNA damage or the body absorbing the chemicals used to change the hair.Previously, experts claimed in March breast cancer was linked to hair dye and hormonal contraception.

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Breast cancer
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