Ethics in Medicine

Breast Cancer Rates in Marin County

Kristen Sparrow • September 11, 2011

I made dinner for some friends last night and my friend who is also an alternative Medical doctor alerted me to the results of this study about breast cancer rates in Marin.  The basic finding is that the cancer rates were elevated in Marin due to combined estrogen and progesterone replacement therapy.  I have to admit I thought that the cause was going to be something more unique, such as the chemicals unleashed with kitchen remodels, or some earth magnetic anomaly.

Marin women’s breast
cancer study compiles
unique database

By Nels Johnson, Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 08/26/2011 10:46:45 AM PDT

Updated: 08/29/2011 11:45:35 AM PDT

The exhaustive, ground-breaking probe —
launched after Marin County logged one of the
highest breast cancer rates in the nation — is an
ongoing analysis by a consortium including county
health staff, the Buck Institute for Age Research, the
Northern California Cancer Center, Zero Breast
Cancer and others.

Data include saliva samples from 8,500 Marin
women that allows hormone study as well as genetic
analysis of DNA, along with review of health
histories, childbirth and breast-feeding data and
environmental and personal risk factors including
drug and alcohol use.

By analyzing data, researchers may glean clues
“about why would it be that breast cancer rates are
so elevated in this little county,” said Larry Meredith,
head of the county Department of Health and Human

Intense interest in the study, launched in 2005, was
spurred around the nation after a National Cancer
Institute study indicated Marin s 1998-2002 rate of
cancer in non-Hispanic white women was 175 cases
per 100,000. At the time, the

rate was about the same as San Francisco, 7 percent
higher than the rest of the Bay Area, 9 percent
higher than Los Angeles and 18 percent higher than
the United States.

The good news: Marin s rate has fallen in recent
years, with 2009 statistics indicating a rate of 147
cases per 100,000 women — but still higher than
the state s recent overall rate of 139…

He noted the falling Marin rate coincides with fewer
women taking a mix of hormone therapies.
Researchers using the database are trying to figure
out why.

I thought this comment after the article was interesting, since stress and its consequences is one of my areas of keen interest.  Anecdotal, but interesting nonetheless. (Info on my practice here.)

i have done my own non-scientific research working in a reconstructive and plastic surgeon’s office for 7 years (and also a breast cancer survivor myself) and have found that about 99% of women that have come through our office as newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, are well-educated, working full-time in crazy demanding jobs, mothers, and taking on a world of STRESS! Not all of these women have all of these things going on, but, all of them have STRESS in common. The old and young patients are A type perfectionist type women and this is causing their immune systems to be suppressed and allowing cancer cells to multiply…i think if someone could find a suppressent for the stress hormone, CORTISOL, they would have the key to reducing breast cancer rates. I hope one of these coordinators reads this from the above study…it’s not rocket science and maybe I found the missing clue to the CURE!