Could eating potatoes give you breast cancer?

Breast cancer has been on the rise for a while and younger and younger women are getting the disease. A lot of research is devoted to the reason why: is it obesity? Hormone-replacement medication? Or do environmental factors have something to do with it, too?

A new study is shedding some light on the answer to that question. Findings are now showing that women whose diets contain higher levels of cadmium, a heavy metal that has long been identified as a carcinogen, have a greater risk of developing breast cancer.


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So how does cadmium get into our diets in the first place? Well, it leaches into crops from fertilizers. Typically it is found in whole grains, potatoes and some other vegetables. More than that, it can also become an airborne pollutant when fossil fuels are burned.

The new study, which was published by the American Association for Cancer Research, found that post-menopausal women were 21% more likely to develop breast cancer. These findings are actually in direct opposition to a recent conclusion made by the Institute of Medicine, who said that most of the factors in breast cancer risk were under a woman's control (such as obesity and hormone-replacement medication).

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Reading the findings about potatoes, which make up a healthy dose of my diet, definitely make me really concerned about my future cancer risks, as well as those for other members of my family (especially for both of my parents, since men can get breast cancer too). I don't know if I could ever fully give up eating potatoes but this is definitely the best reason for only buying organic ones. I'll definitely be watching my cadmium intake from now on.

Will you reduce your intake of potatoes because it is a key source of environmental pollutant cadmium, which has been linked to breast cancer?

Image via Buzz Hoffman/flickr