PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New research reveals a potential link between hair products and breast cancer in black women. The chemicals in hair products linked to breast cancer are found in a variety of products.
Doctors say this new research should be a wake-up call for everyone, not just black women.
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Crystal Love has been using all sorts of products on her hair for a long time.
“I used to perm my hair, color my hair, all the typical things women do,” Love said.
But, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and bald from chemotherapy, she had doubts about her hair care products.
“I’m like OK, I have to be careful what I put in my body and on my body,” Love said.
New research at the City of Hope examined a popular hair product preservative called parabens and compared the effects of parabens on the cells of black and white breast cancer patients.
“We found increased cell growth in the black breast cancer cell line with paraben treatment, but we did not see these effects in the white breast cancer cell lines at the dose tested,” said said Lindsey Trevino of City of Hope.
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CBS3 spoke with Penn Medicine dermatologist Dr. Susan Taylor.
“There is a real need for more studies to clarify this,” Dr. Taylor said. “The ingredients have been reported in a slew of hair and skin care products, not just those targeted at black women.”
Dr. Taylor says everyone should try to reduce the use of products containing parabens.
“Parabens are what we call endocrine disruptors, they disrupt or interfere with some of the hormones in the body and it’s thought that this could potentially lead to breast cancer,” Dr Taylor said.
Love says she’s taking no chances and now only uses natural products.
“I’d rather be natural and not have to worry about another what-if,” Love said.
Doctors say black women face an increased risk of breast cancer, it’s probably genetic. More research is needed to determine if certain chemicals increase this risk even more.
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Researchers say potentially dangerous parabens are found in hair products used at home and in salons.