Breast cancer and climate change

Breast cancer and climate change

Breast cancer and climate change

Hana Kirreh

Several factors, both endogenous and exogenous are known to affect the risk of breast cancer. These factors include hormonal status, anthropometric characteristics, radiation and genetic predisposition. In addition, exposure to environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals can increase the risk of breast cancer among women. The risk of each environmental pollutant varies depending on the duration and type of exposure, the timing of the exposure and the properties of each individual pollutant.

Approximately more than 80% of breast cancer cases are associated with environmental factors that include the exposure to contaminants, lifestyle, and diet. Women exposed to chemicals suffer from disruption of normal functioning of hormones in the body and sometimes by mimicking the naturally occurring hormone estrogen


The international community has a serious concern where 70,000 synthetic chemicals in our environment might be linked to a large percentage of breast cancer cases, but there are no epidemiological studies to determine this.

Gaza Strip as one of the most densely populated areas worldwide has already started to experience deterioration of environmental quality where drinking water shortage, high salinity water, lack of solid waste treatment, marine pollution, poverty and some restricted, cancelled or banned pesticides still enter in Gaza Strip and widely used .

Pesticides are more harmful on health at higher temperature and lead to rise in the numbers of women with breast cancer. Less precipitation is also expected to increase air pollution in urban areas, which means greater exposure to harmful chemicals linked to breast cancer.

The rise in temperature the world is witnessing leads to an increase in the toxicity of chemicals like air pollutants and pesticides as well. Higher temperature causes our bodies to become weaker and less able to cope with the change or even get rid of toxic chemicals. In other words, rising temperatures make us more sensitive to chemical stressors like toxic chemicals. Our bodies’ natural systems for keeping us healthy are less able to cope, which makes us more susceptible to breast cancer and other diseases. Especially people in places that are hard hit by extreme weather events facing chemical contamination and air pollution.

Already breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women.

International humanitarian law stipulates that, as the Occupying Power, Israel is responsible for the health and welfare of the Palestinian population under its control. Israel needs to guarantee women access to adequate medical treatment and ensure and maintain medical and hospital establishments and services in the occupied territory. Unfortunately, medical supplies are inadequate.

It is time that the world should work harder and act to not let women suffer from breast cancer tear. Preventing and reducing contamination, help in reducing the number of women with breast cancer. It‘s time to step up and address climate change to prevent breast cancer.