September 26, 2005

Southpaws and Breast Cancer

I saw an article over the weekend about left-handed women being at higher risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer.

Here's a link to the article - link.

This has nothing to do with hysterectomy or fibroids, however, I am a southpaw and I do have breasts.

I've read articles (probably hundreds in my lifetime) about left-handedness and its cause and one of the theories has to do with hormones the fetus is exposed to. I'm guessing that those same hormones that may cause the brain to develop favoring the right side of the brain (and left side of the body) might also make the breast tissue more succeptible to cancer.

The connection, though strong, doesn't really increase my risk that much, as pre-menopausal breast cancer is much less common than post-menopause (that's why we start getting our mammograms at age 40 - I'm due for mine next year).

I've never put much stock into anything about left-handed people being any better or worse at anything other than doing something with a particular hand. I don't think that lefties are any smarter than righties, nor more creative or articulate. I have noticed that I have a fair amount of left-handed friends. I did a count a few months back and found that 20-25% of my friends and associates are left-handed, where the general statistic is 10%.

My father is left-handed as was his mother. I don't think there's a gene that makes you lefty, but I think there's probably some sort of gene that controls hormone levels that might control whether or not a fetus becomes a lefty. However, my mother's side of the family has no left-handedness at all (as far as I know). So, I've succeeded in confusing myself, I have no idea how I became left-handed or not.

Posted by Elizabeth M. on September 26, 2005 6:53 PM

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