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Two SF Chronicle Stories Spotlight Important Breast Cancer Research of Child Health and Development Studies

When Ida Washington received a letter inviting her to participate in a study to explore the environmental roots of breast cancer, she didn’t think twice. Her mother was diagnosed with the disease nearly 40 years ago, and since then, it had been a terrifying mystery she’d yearned to unravel.

Now 52, Washington was just a teenager when the lump was found on her mother’s left breast. In the years that followed, as her mother’s cancer went into remission, Washington began to wonder what caused it.

“My mother didn’t smoke, she didn’t drink. Breast cancer didn’t run in the family,” said Washington, who lives in San Leandro.

And that’s the case for most forms of breast cancer – doctors never know the cause, and patients and their families are left forever wondering. Scientists are making progress on uncovering genetic causes, but environmental triggers can be especially challenging to tease out, because they take so long to manifest and can lie hidden among hundreds, maybe even thousands, of variables.

The study Washington was invited to join is a critical, and perhaps unique, attempt to unravel some of those environmental mysteries.

Read the full article.

Originally published by San Francisco Chronicle

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