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Women who live in high-pollution areas may benefit from breast cancer testing, as findings from a recent study indicate that particles from automobile exhaust may increase their risk for developing the potentially deadly condition.
Researchers from McGill University used results from several previous studies to analyze the impact of air pollution on breast cancer rates. They first took air pollution data to map areas with the highest concentration of nitrogen dioxide, a component of care exhaust. They then placed the home addresses of women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer on the map.
The results showed a clear concentration of cancer patients in areas with the highest levels of air pollution. Mark Goldberg, who led the study, said that the findings may help explain the recent increases doctors have noticed in breast cancer.
"We've been watching breast cancer rates go up for some time," he said. "Nobody really knows why, and only about one third of cases are attributable to known risk factors. Since no one had studied the connection between air pollution and breast cancer using detailed air pollution maps, we decided to investigate it."
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