J.: Zero Breast Cancer was launched in Marin in 1995. What sets it apart?
Rose Barlow: It’s a little different from other breast cancer organizations. From the get-go we focused on the environmental causes and risk factors. We’ve been more committed to the idea of prevention than screening and treatment.
J: And how does one prevent breast cancer?
RB: Ten percent of breast cancers are genetic, so prevention has to do with knowing family history and talking to your doctor. Of the next 30 to 40 percent, we know most of the major risk factors, and we educate people as to what they are. Age and being a woman are two you can’t do anything about. The modifiable risk factors have to do with wellness: not smoking, limiting alcohol intake, watching your weight. Top-notch nutrition and exercise are very protective. Limiting toxic chemical exposure, avoiding plastic food containers, particularly heating them in microwaves. Hormone replacement therapy post-menopause has been shown to be a significant risk.
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