Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's On The Bookshelf?

Breasts, A Natural and Unnatural History is an important book. Florence Williams answers all the questions you might have had about breasts and many you could never have imagined. What woman doesn’t have a friend or family member who has gotten breast cancer? One out of eight women in the United States will get the disease during her lifetime. Breast cancer declares itself at a far younger age than for previous generations, as the 2009 documentary Toxic Breast reported. And, Barnstable County has a 20% higher rate, compared to the rest of Massachusetts. But this is a book for every woman … and man. There is even a chapter about Camp LeJeune where marines drank polluted water and developed breast cancer. Williams also investigates early puberty in girls and how it may affect them as women. I especially enjoyed Chapter 6 on, as the author switched from the past to the present and future, reporting on the latest theories and possible causes of breast cancer. I learned that young women who nurse a baby are protected by pregnancy hormones, while women, who choose to bear babies later in life, run a higher risk, and that a new 3D detection test is under development. I met biologists like David Newburg, who studies breast milk in an attempt to duplicate some of the benefits, “the Nutrasweet for the survival set, the mysterious stuff of breast purified into a paper packet.”

I was pleased to have the author confirm my theory on the danger toxic chemicals in the environment pose to human health and shared her dismay that government agencies are not doing more to protect us. “Perhaps it’s time, say many activists, to look deeper into chemical exposures, especially since damning evidence in animals and in occupational studies is slowly mounting,” writes Williams. If you suspected many breast cancers are environmental in origin, here is confirmation. Give this book to every woman you care about. The author’s extensive research may cause them to make some lifestyle changes.

Have you read this book? Did I make you want to read it? What are you reading right now? Do you follow Summer Booklist recommendations or choose books yourself?