Closer look at new study linking hair dye and breast cancer risk

ABC News’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton breaks down the findings and what women who use hair dyes should know.
1:48 | 12/04/19

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Transcript for Closer look at new study linking hair dye and breast cancer risk
that. That surprising headline about hair dye. A new study linking them to a higher risk of breast cancer. Do tell us. It's not as simple as the headline as usual but this is something that potentially affects a lot of people. The estimates are a third of adult women use some kind of hair coloring. This study, they looked at 45,000 women. It's called the sisters study for a reason. Sisters of women with breast cancer so a high risk population looked at use of permanent hair dye. Take a look at the numbers. They're pretty surprising. Overall increase of 9%. African-American women had an increase risk of 45%. And if African-American women used hair coloring more than once every five to eight weeks, that risk jumped to 60%. Now, here are the caveats. Number one, this is a study based on association, not cause and effect. What do you mean by that. It doesn't show a direct causal link between hire Dai and breast cancer. A lot of things cause breast this was a high risk population so you can't extrapolate this to the average female or male population and other studies that show no increase risk with hire Dai so we don't know the absolute risk here so we don't know the absolute number of cases of breast cancer that could be tied to feast findings, therefore, you must interpret this headline with a massive amount of caution. You know, people will hear this and so what should they do? Other than watch "Good morning America" for the best interpretation, I think, listen, we have to control the controllables. We know the things that can lower the risk of breast cancer, things like exercise, keeping your weight in a healthy range, minimizing alcohol consumption if you are an in Hawaii risk group and if possible, breast-feed. We know those things can lower risk. Those are things we know for sure. Control the controllable. Thank you, doc. Coming up, revealing "People's" magazine very first

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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