Power. Progress. Prevention. December 6, 2019

Published on December 6, 2019

Power. Progress. Prevention. -- An Advocacy Newsletter | Prevent Cancer Foundation

December 6, 2019

Study shows hair dyes and straighteners may pose an increased cancer risk for black women

Hair dyeIn a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers found that black women who regularly use hair dyes and straighteners may increase their risk of cancer. Results suggested that black women who used permanent hair dyes were 60% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not, and the use of straighteners increased breast cancer risk by 30%. There was not a significant difference for white women who used either product.

While a link was found, researchers are unclear about the cause. They speculated that it could be due to products designed specifically for women of color or that the amount of dye used based on hair texture and how it is absorbed by the skin. However, the study did not find that the dyes or straighteners directly cause cancer.

“You cannot, based on these data, make the statement that hair dyes and straighteners cause breast cancer,” said Dr. Larry Norton, medical director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “These effects were small.”

While the cause was not determined and more research is needed, scientists did have concerns over the use of the products and, especially given how popular they are. Over 50% of the black women in the study reported using hair dye, and almost 75% reported using straighteners.

Robin Dodson, a research scientist at the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts, suggested a cautionary approach when using products with chemical additives, explaining, “Most products put out there on the market today are not adequately tested for safety, and they aren’t tested for endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”

Read about the study here. To learn more about breast cancer risk factors and screening options, view our website.

Trump administration approves final rule removing 700,000 individuals from food stamps program

Vegetables, fruits, nutsIn a final rule instituted by the administration this week, nearly 700,000 food stamp recipients will no longer meet eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The rule specifies that all able-bodied adult SNAP beneficiaries without children must abide by work requirements to maintain their benefits. Before the rule, governors were generally allowed to waive the requirements in areas with “economic distress” where jobs are harder to find or maintain, but the administration will now put more pressure on governors to enforce the requirements.

The rule, which was first proposed in the Department of Agriculture, gained momentum under the argument that the work requirements should no longer be an issue due to a “strong job market.”

Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue explained, saying, “Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream. We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand.”

According to the rule, “able-bodied adults without children cannot receive food stamps for more than three months during a 36-month period without working or participating in a work program. States can grant waivers to areas that have insufficient jobs or a 24-month average unemployment rate that is at least 20 percent above the national average.”

Access to healthy, nutritious food is critical to help reduce the risk of cancer. Diet and obesity are linked to increased risk for multiple cancer types, the Prevent Cancer Foundation® supports efforts to help increase the availability of healthy options to help Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®

Hospitals sue to block transparency rule

GavelIn response to a rule from the administration requiring hospitals to disclose the discounted services they give to insurers, the American Hospital Association (AHA) filed a lawsuit to block the measure from implementation in 2021. The AHA claims that forcing hospitals to provide that information violates the first amendment, calling it “unlawful, many times over.”

Tom Nickels, an executive vice president for the AHA added, “We make the case that the burden placed on our members to come up with this information is extensive and will generate confusion about patients’ financial obligations, not quell it.”

The administration is seeking to curtail rising hospital costs which increased by 42% for inpatient services between 2007 and 2014 according to economists. Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar anticipated a legal challenge and told health officials that the agency would withstand a lawsuit.

HHS spokeswoman, Caitlin Oakley, elaborated in a statement, “Hospitals should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost of a service before they purchase it. President Trump and Secretary Azar are committed to providing patients the information they need to make their own informed health care decisions and will continue to fight for transparency in America’s health care system.”

This is a developing story, and we will provide additional information as it becomes available. 

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