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Program Information
 Loving the Earth Pollution Free Revolution 
 Prenatal Origins of Cancer
 Interview
 Dr. Carol F. Kwiatkowski, Executive Director, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange
 Cancer Action News Network  
 See Notes.
 No Advisories - program content screened and verified.
Childhood cancer incidence is increasing in the United States. Animal studies have shown that gestational dioxin exposure predisposes female offspring to increased breast cancer susceptibility and male offspring to increased prostate cancer susceptibility. These findings provide a plausible explanation of why children are now being diagnosed with cancers that were only found in adults several generations ago.

In June 2010, Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) Executive Director, Carol F. Kwiatkowski provided Cancer Action NY with a statement on the prenatal origins of cancer. The TEDX statement is provided below.

In this interview, Dr. Kwiatkowski shares her extensive knowledge of endocrine disruption. She focuses on the role of endocrine disrupting chemicals in bringing about developmental changes that yield a newborn organism, which is more likely to develop cancer later in life than those organisms which did not receive gestational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals.
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TEDX Statement on Prenatal Origins of Cancer

June, 2010



TEDX has spent years aggregating and analyzing the scientific literature on prenatal origins of cancer, looking beyond genetic influences to address prenatal exposure to things such as air pollution, metals, medication and toxic chemicals. Our current database includes nearly 600 experimental studies and over 150 reviews and commentaries. Each experimental study is categorized according to the exposure and the system affected (e.g., blood, brain, breast). Our spreadsheet, along with summary tables and charts, is available on our website at www.endocrinedisruption.org under Prenatal Origins of Endocrine Disruption.



Prenatal exposures can have very different outcomes than the same exposure experienced later in life due to both the unique route of exposure (through the placenta), and the fact that critical life systems of the developing individual are organizing and being constructed. The research we have compiled demonstrates that many factors, particularly prenatal exposure to pesticides, air pollution and industrial chemicals (including those we encounter on a daily basis) have been found to predict cancer. Other variables such as maternal age, pregnancy hormones, maternal illness and birth weight are also associated with cancer. Some are likely to be root causes, while others, such as birth weight, may be both symptoms and causes.



It has been hypothesized that what connects these variables is disruption of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is the exquisitely balanced system of glands and hormones that regulates such vital functions as growth, metabolism, the production and utilization of insulin, intelligence, behavior, sexual development and the ability to reproduce. The brain is one of our most important endocrine organs, particularly in the early weeks of prenatal life, as it controls how the rest of the endocrine system develops. In our research on the prenatal origins of cancer, the most common cancer-related outcomes were in the brain and nervous system. Understanding how the brain develops in utero, and how it experiences and regulates internally- and externally-induced hormonal fluctuations, is critical to our understanding of the prenatal origins of cancer, as well as many other diseases faced by children and adults in the modern world.



Our conclusion is that prenatal environmental exposures may be even more important than genetic and chromosomal factors in determining susceptibility to cancer. Understanding their interaction, particularly with regard to epigenetic processes, is clearly one of the most important paths for cancer research.



Over the last century, millions of individuals have experienced these exposures in utero and little has been done to reduce the threat to future generations. Fortunately, we do have examples in which human exposure to carcinogens has been greatly reduced due to research combined with intense public scrutiny and action. One such example is exposure to cigarette smoke, first-hand, second-hand and in utero. The numerous bans on smoking in public places, Surgeon General’s warnings, and public education about the carcinogenic effects of cigarettes, particularly for pregnant women, are all changes that were produced by the dedicated efforts of scientists, activists and the legal community. Another example is DES, a drug that was commonly prescribed between 1938 and 1971 for complications of pregnancy. The risk of DES to the fetus was made a national issue by a strong coalition of DES mothers and daughters. Their efforts, backed by scientific research, led to the 1971 FDA advisement that physicians stop prescribing DES to pregnant women. The DES story stands out as a unique example of action taken to reduce exposure based specifically on cancer produced in an offspring. By supporting the science behind the action, our hope is that every child will begin life with the cleanest slate possible and the best hope for the future.



Cancer Action NY's Cancer Action Network
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00:53:43 English 2010-08-10
 Colton, New York, USA
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