Your body makes hormones that tell your cells what to do. These natural hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the blood and control how your tissues and organs work.
Sometimes you can get artificial hormones from outside sources, such as drugs or chemicals in the environment. Hormones from outside sources can raise or lower your hormone levels. There is concern that these changes in hormone levels can increase the risk of cancer.
Chemicals and hormones
Recent studies have been focusing on a group of chemicals that can mimic certain human hormones, such as estrogen. These chemicals are called endocrine disruptors. The worry is that endocrine disruptors could change the action of hormones in our bodies and lead to health problems, such as cancer.
Although the evidence linking endocrine disruptors to cancer is generally poor or inconsistent, some flame retardants (PBDEs) and phthalates may increase cancer risk. Research is still ongoing into these and other endocrine disruptors.