Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Friday, January 31, 2014

One Step Closer to the Truth About Cancer

The following was a current event report submitted by Tucker Duncan. For some reason it was not posted to the blog. I thought it was very interesting and relevant topic, so I am taking the liberty of posting it for him. 
Bienkowski, Brian, and Environmental Health News. "BPA Exposure Linked to Prostate Cancer: Scientific American." BPA Exposure Linked to Prostate Cancer: Scientific American
. Scientific American, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2014. <>.

It has always been rumored that drinking out of plastic water bottles can lead to cancer, and new research strongly backs this point. Men being exposed to low levels of bisphenol A (BPA) during early stages of development greatly increase the chance of prostate cancer later on in life. BPA is mainly exposed to young men through the use of plastic water bottles, being that it is one of the chemicals used to make these water bottles. Along with water bottles, BPA is found in paper receipts, the lining of some food cans, and dental sealants, such as the seal on top of a tube of toothpaste. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, a team of scientists used stem cells to implant the prostate cells of deceased young men. One third of the stem cells came from prostates that had cancer at one point in its life, and forty-five percent of the cells exposed to BPA that had not previously been exposed to prostate cancer developed tumors. Not only can BPA exposure affect a young male during his early years in life, but also a pregnant mother can greaten the risk of prostate cancer for the fetus inside of her. The scientists believe the root cause of the BPA leading to prostate cancer is that the chemical affects the stem cells in such a way that they are not able to replenish the prostate, making it more susceptible to prostate cancer. BPA also led to breast cancer in rats, but has not yet been proven to affect humans in the same way.
            The study of BPA levels leading to cancer is very important to the human race. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancerous death of U.S. men, and research to expand on how to prevent it is incredibly relevant. Fifteen percent of men in the U.S. (roughly 24.7 million men) experience tumors on their prostate at one point in their life. The ability to prevent this would greatly decrease the mortality rate, and not exposing children to BPA could be a successful prevention. To live in a world where humans know more about cancer and how to either cure or prevent it is the dream of young generations right now. Nothing is worse than seeing loved ones die, but of something that we know little to nothing about how to cure? That’s not a world I want to live in and I praise every man and woman trying to fight this.
            Overall I thought this article was beautifully written. I loved how statistics were brought up about how many men were diagnosed with cancer because those are the types of facts that really grab a reader. However, I would’ve liked to read more about how to prevent exposing yourself, or your fetus, to BPA exposure.

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