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Mon May 19 14:12:07 2003 Pacific Time
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      Genetically-Engineered Anti-Aging Medication, Monsanto Milk Are Major, Unrecognized Risks of Breast Cancer, Warns Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition

       CHICAGO, May 19 (AScribe Newswire) -- Anti-aging medication with genetically-engineered human growth hormone (HGH) poses major risks of breast cancer. Equally unrecognized are risks of drinking unlabeled milk from cows injected with Monsanto's genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone (BGH), marketed since 1994 to increase milk production. These risks are especially critical in view of the escalating incidence of breast cancer, particularly in post-menopausal women, over recent decades. As critical is the fact that women have still not been warned of both these avoidable risks.

       The anti-aging effects of HGH are due to its stimulating the liver to increase production of the natural Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), whose blood levels normally decline with increasing age. BGH milk also has high levels of IGF-1, which is readily absorbed through the gut.

       There are numerous publications, in prestigious scientific journals since the early 1990's, showing that elevated IGF-1 levels are strongly associated with major excesses of breast, besides colon and prostate, cancer. By 1992, a leading authority on IGF-1 warned that it was strongly incriminated in the transformation of normal breast cells to cancer cells. Even minor elevations of IGF-1 are associated with up to a 7-fold increased risk of breast cancer. This is almost as high as that in women carrying genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) with the strongest hereditary predisposition. Additionally, IGF-1 inhibits the naturally programmed ability of cancer cells to self-destruct. This results in stimulating the growth and invasiveness of small, undiagnosed cancers, and increasing their resistance to chemotherapy. These concerns on risks of high levels of IGF-1 in BGH milk are particularly strong in view of evidence that prenatal and infant breasts are highly susceptible to stimulatory and hormonal influences. This early life "imprinting" is thus likely to result in progressive increases in risks of breast cancer over future decades.

       Use of HGH for anti-aging medication has become a major growth industry. Suppliers of HGH, including those offering mail order prescriptions, are proliferating on Internet web sites. The Chicago-based ten-year old American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, with over 8,000 members, promotes injectable HGH in programs claiming to stop or even reverse aging, including decreasing body fat, and increasing muscle mass and bone density. However, practitioners of this burgeoning "health" industry are either ignorant of or fail to warn of well-documented information on the grave cancer risks of HGH medication.

       HGH medication should only be used by qualified endocrinologists for highly restricted medical disorders, such as dwarfism due to pituitary gland deficiency, as approved by the FDA in 1985. It should be further stressed that anti-aging medication has never received any such approval.

       The public should also boycott unlabeled dairy products in favor of those labeled as rBGH-free, which are becoming increasingly available.

       For further details on unrecognized avoidable risks of breast cancer, see the February 2003 "Stop Cancer Before It Starts Campaign" Cancer Prevention Coalition report at www.preventcancer.com, endorsed by over 100 scientific experts in cancer prevention, and representatives of environmental, consumer and other activist groups.

       epstein@uic.edu.

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      Media Contact: Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition, and Professor emeritus, Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, 312-996-2297;

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