Communities in the Bay Area, especially Marin County, are known to have higher breast cancer rates than are found elsewhere in America. We women keep getting studied. And scientists keep having theories. Here’s the latest article I’ve seen about Bay Area breast cancer rates. If you read the article, you’ll find that, while it’s obsessed with potential environmental toxins, it makes no mention of a few interesting things that leave me doubting how meritorious the studies are. Thus, it makes no mention of:
1. Delayed child-bearing (very common in affluent areas).
2. Long-term use of the Pill, which is very common in women who delay child-bearing.
3. Frequency of abortions, which is very common in women who delay child-bearing.
4. Prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, which could have an effect on reproductive organs, including breasts.
5. Youthful access to the Pill and abortion. (You’ll never see a pregnant teen in Marin.)
6. Longevity — something that is associated with affluence and with breast cancer.
7. The fact that affluent communities have better access to testing. In a poorer community, a woman in her 40s might have a slow-growing cancer, but be unaware of it — and then die of diabetes first anyway.
All of the theories posited in the article may be good theories, and some or all may be absolutely correct. Until the studies address the peculiarities/realities of an affluent, liberal part of the world, however, they’re not looking at the whole pictures, and one wonders if they’ll be able to find the whole answer.