Problem analysis and general approach

The WASABY Project has received funding from the Directorate General Santé under the European Commission 3rd Health Programme, Call PP-2-5-2016 on the dissemination of knowledge on breast cancer risk factors among young women in areas with higher-than-average breast cancer incidence in the EU due to water and soil environmental contamination:

Breast cancer is a neo-plastic disease promoted by uncontrolled growth and spread of malignant cells in breast tissues, usually ducts and lobules. Worldwide, breast cancer is the second most common cancer and the most frequent cancer in the female population, with 1.67 million new cases estimated in 2012 (25% of all cancer cases). Breast cancer is also the first cancer type among women in more developed economies as well as in less developed ones []. Although huge investments in biomedical research aimed to clarify causes of breast cancer, the etiological factors involved in this pathology are not fully understood and scientific debate is still controversial. A debatable issue regards connection of environmental pollutants and breast cancer risk. The following steps characterize our approach:

  • mapping breast cancer risk to identify areas at higher risk using specific geographic information system (GIS)
  • reviewing scientific literature of relationship between water/soil pollutants and breast cancer risk to organize a pilot environmental study
  • promoting primary prevention actions by which cancer risk could potentially be reduced among young women of the areas at higher risk