Empowering Girls: Breast Cancer Risks


Parents should be aware that there are three things that increase a girl’s risk for breast cancer:

* If she starts her period early.

* If she does not have one baby before age 30.

* If she does not breastfeed.

From an interview with Teresa Knight, a St. Louis, MO OB/GYN with a Masters in Neuro-anatomy, concerning the risks of precocious puberty or early puberty.

Girls now start their periods three years earlier than previous generations. Fifty percent now start their periods by 10 years of age, increasing their risk of breast cancer.

Empowering Girls: Early Puberty

Precocious Puberty

12 replies
  1. Jeanne says:


    Great post! I have heard from multiple sources (none of which I can remember, unfortunately) that the hormones fed to animals like chickens and cattle are part of why girls are starting puberty earlier. The hormones affect girls when they are ingested. 🙁


  2. Tracee says:

    I’m exploring that. This particular OB/GYN said it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the body weight issue.

  3. Lucy says:

    50% by age 10! I’m not sure that’s true here … at least in my unrepresentative sample of children, their friends, and nieces.

    I had heard it is a body-weight thing too – you have to be a certain size before you can menstruate.

    So when do they reckon ‘starts early’ is? I think I was 12, and my close friends all started in the same week (except one). Think we must have been very close – I gather that women living in close groups end up synchronised.

    And do you suppose you have to have breastfed before 30 as well?

    Very interesting, as I’m in a strongly female family, though not one prone to breast cancer (fingers crossed).

  4. Jeanne says:


    Call me a cynic but in my experience doctors aren’t very well-versed in nutrition and are generally pretty unaware of the impact of the hormones fed to these animals. I’m not sure I agree with the OB/GYN you mentioned. I’m going to try to remember where I read/heard this…

    Obviously body weight affects things too. With the childhood obesity epidemic in this country, that is a huge isse, no doubt. I’m just not sure about that “drop in the bucket” comments regarding hormones.


  5. Jeanne says:


    Here are 2 books I very much want to read but never seem to have found the time. I think they may give clues on this topic as I remember hearing them both cited as groundbreaking books. I needed a minute to remember the titles. Like I said, I haven't read them but they are both supposed to be excellent and they MAY touch on this subject.

    "Our Stolen Future" by Theo Colburn:


    "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson:



    P.S. The "Silent Spring" may focus more on the effects of pesticides on humans and "Our Stolen Future" talks about hormone disruption amongst other things. Thank you for reminding me to put these 2 books on my "need to read" list.

  6. Tracee says:

    It’s true worldwide in industrialized countries that have enough to eat Lucy. Even in your neighborhood.

    If you were 12, it wouldn’t be unusual for your daughter to be 9 or 10.

    The magic number is 100 – 100 lbs. So, it does seem to be weight related. If a girl is 9 when she hits 100 or 10 when she hits 100 she will likely start her period.

  7. Lucy says:

    Well, I’m shocked and surprised – by age 10 just seems so very young.

    Please do keep us informed if you learn any more on this – it sounds like you’re doing some detailed research.

  8. Jeanne says:


    Like I said, I’m well aware of the weight connection. I just don’t know if the hormones in food and the chemicals in plastics (i.e. those found in baby bottles, that have received so much controversy) are a “drop in the bucket”. I totally get the 100 lbs part. I just don’t know if the hormones girls are ingesting are so insignificant as to be chalked up to “a drop in the bucket”.

    I have seen presentations on PVC, phlatates (hormone disruptors found in some baby toys and teething rings) and the dangers of cooking food in plastic containers because the plastic actually leaches into the food (as do the chemicals from the plastics that have psuedo-estrogenic effects).

    I’m not a statistician so I can’t speak to the 50% number you mentioned.

    Here is a resource that may help with information:

    Health Care Without Harm:


    (They have campaigned for IV bags made out of plastic to be converted the glass containers).

    Also, there was a big controversy when baby food jars were switched from glass to plastic pretty much across the industry.

    I've seen charts about which baby bottles are safer than others but I can't remember where. I know the big companies tend to use chemicals that no baby should ingest.

    Here's another helpful site:

    "Skin Deep" – You can check the relative safety of health & beauty products here (see which products contain endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, carcinogens, etc.):


    It's a fantastic database to check health & beauty products for safety.


  9. Tracee says:

    Jeanne, Of course I’m still doing research calling people in various areas of expertise. I’ve spoken to other experts that believe it has quite a lot to do with hormones in milk, soy, meat, herbicides, pesticides, toiletries, plastics and pharmaceuticals in the water.

    But, if we’re in what the FTC and the medical community calls an “obesity epidemic” and 50% of girls are starting their periods earlier, then it seems like there is an obvious connection between body weight and early puberty.

  10. Kate says:

    Another risk factor that I just picked up in Oprah magazin is exposure to artificial light at night. Working the night shift, the street light and street advertising that are beaming outside the bedroom window (meaning urban females are more at risk)…

  11. Tracee says:

    I read that Kate.

    Since you mentioned it here I just made the connection to that article and my daughter’s closet light being on while she sleep. She says she’s scared. Maybe I should make her reduce it to a small night light.

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