We are all exposed to chemical substances on a daily basis, whether in our environment, our food or our workplace. Some of these chemical components, endocrine disruptors, can interact with our hormonal system, interfere with our body’s signals and affect different functions: metabolism and reproduction and the nervous system, among others. They are believed to increase the risk of health problems such as cancers, diabetes or infertility, to name a few.
During the four funded years of her Chair, Vikki Ho and her team will investigate whether people who are highly exposed to endocrine disruptors in the workplace have a greater risk of developing a cancer.
The scientists are also interested in male-female differences. In fact, it has been shown that sex hormones affect the development of several cancers. For example, men are more likely to develop colorectal or lung cancer than women.
Even if environmental, biological or lifestyle factors can explain this risk difference, endocrine disruptors are still not off the hook, since they interfere with the action of sex hormones.
Title of Vikki Ho’s research project: “Exploring sex differences in the etiology of cancers: a critical look at endocrine disrupting agents in the workplace.”