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Impacts of Industrialization

Studies of women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations who therefore have a higher susceptibility to breast cancer, found that breast cancer risk is higher in women born after 1940. This suggests that changes over the past several decades, including perhaps the byproducts of industrialization, have created non-inherited factors that alter significantly the expression of genes that influence breast cancer risk [King et al., 2003].

Currently, the industrialized countries of North America and North Europe show the highest rates of breast cancer. The lowest rates are found in Asia and Central Africa. In developing regions of the world such as in North Africa, breast cancer rates are dramatically increasing [Parkin, 1994; Parkin et al., 1999].