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Janet Gray, Ph.D.
Janet Gray, Ph.D.

As author of our 2008 and 2010 State of the Evidence reports, Dr. Gray drives the science behind all our work.

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Race, Class, Occupation & Genes

In the United States, a woman’s risk of breast cancer has increased dramatically over the last century, and today, it is estimates that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. But that risk isn’t equal among all women: Some populations are more vulnerable than others, often because of increased exposure to toxic substances.

Depending on where you live, where you work, your socioeconomic status and your ethnic background, you might have an increased risk for developing breast cancer. Here are some of the factors that could have an influence:

  • Grandmother and granddaughter

    Genetics and Family History

    Genetics impact breast cancer risk as do environmental exposures—and now we know they act together, too.

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  • Agricultural Workers and Communities

    Individuals who work or live near agriculture may have high exposures to pesticides, some of which may be linked to breast cancer.

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  • Immigrants, Migration Studies and Breast Cancer Worldwide

    Rates of breast cancer differ across the world, and migration from one county to another can change a woman's risk.

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  • Polluted communities

    Polluted Communities

    Communities can be polluted by catastrophic exposures or a small, steady stream of pollution.

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  • Race, Ethnicity and Class

    Breast cancer risk varies among different ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

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  • Workers and Occupation

    Your work environment can affect your risk of breast cancer.

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