is my breast cancer caused by years of pulling ragwort? any other horsey folks with it x

Morning all.
I have triple negative breast cancer that is also non genetic, the labs are now looking into a possible link between the toxic plant ragwort and the cancer. for the last 11 years i have been pulling it out of the horse field as lost one pony to the nasty thing 8 years ago. never bothered to wear gloves just wanted it out of the field to protect the other horses. now they’re wondering if the toxins from the sap may have caused it. right handed, right breast.
Just wondering if there are any other people out there that maybe in the same situation.

Sorry if this post is in the wrong category i didn’t know where to put it x x

Hi Amylou,
I too used to regularly pull ragwort but I am ER and HER positive so don’t think I can help you. Had to have my old boy put down at 14 and had him since birth, this was 12 years agio but still miss him as he was a helluva character.
I am right handed but BC in left breast so no connection there - keep us informed as there are quite a few horse ladies on this site who may have an interest.

Mmmm interesting. I too have had contact with the dreaded ragwart. I wonder? no family history for me but not sure what sort of bc i have.

I pull ragwort - but I always wear gloves and wash my hands afterwards, My BC was ER ++ HER -ve - no family history.
First I’ve heard of this!

I have also pulled ragwort over the years!! Triple Negative Left handed Left breast??? But then I know lots and lots of others who have also pulled ragwort and not got BC Sooooooo???

I know hun. its a big question isn’t it. think they are trying to get a link for a cause or a trigger for it because at the moment they don’t have obey. was diagnosed December 30th. i was 29 now 30 it just doesn’t have a blue print so it would seem x x

I’ve pulled much ragwort in the past but not in recent years. I’m triple negative but left breast affected and right handed. I have seen something written in the past from a vet whose liver was affected after lots of ragwort pulling and he commented that people should wear gloves.
My personal thought is that mine may have been linked to having lyme disease from a sheep tick 2 years before diagnosis - but that is just MY thought based on info about over expression of prostaglandins and inflammation (the lyme disease caused a lot of joint pain at the time and I get a lot of joint pain each time I now catch a cold and I developed painful lumps on my finger joints around the time of diagnosis).

There have been other threads by women on the forum wondering if their cancer had been caused by stress/their boob having been badly bruised or injured/eating badly/drinking too much, etc, etc. And every other day there are newspaper articles linking cancer to different things - from living under pylons to wearing yellow wellies!

My view? - It’s a s****y disease that can (and does) strike at random. Yes, there are factors that might contribute to increasing risk, but it’s very very rare (apart from genetics) that anyone can say ‘Yes- that’s what caused it’. Certainly no one should ever beat themselves up or think that in any way it was their fault. It’s a complex disease with complex causes.


DJ, I totally agree with you. when we are disgnosed with such a dreadful desease it is our natural reaction to wonder if it was anything we did to contribute to it. Well, I’ve been pulling ragwort out in fields for years and years, I have bc in my left boob and I am right handed, also ER+ and HER2-. I also know hundreds of fellow horse/pony owners through riding club/pony club most of these riders will at some stage be pulling ragwort, I am the only one I know from the equestrian circle where I live with bc.
However I know several runners ( me included) who are,were, superfit and ran marathons/triathlons or jogged and had a reasonably balanced diet who have bc - work that one out!
Amylou, I suspect that there is something in ragwort which can kick-start our cells to change to cancerous, but that is applicable for just about every product we use, food stuff that we eat,and the buildings which we live in. But, please keep us informed if you hear of anything! love Horsiexxx

Another triple neg right handed/right breast person here who has pulled Ragwort. Also was very fit with a balanced diet. But also ticked some of the ‘at risk’ boxes too, never had children etc.
As has been said, I think we’d all like to know what caused it, but sometimes I don’t think there is a reason, we’re just unlucky. I know a good dozen or more others who have pulled Ragwort, and I’m the only one with cancer. I did think if there was a trigger, then for me it would have been stress.

Right handed/ right breast person here, pulled ragwort for years, probably never washed hands all the time afterwards, also TN.
Doubt if there is a connection, but after all, dried ragwort is poisonous to horses livers, so who knows???



I have also pulled Ragwort regularly for at least 8 years and didn’t always wear gloves. I had B.C hormone positive but only low level (4/8). Was told not strictly Triple Negative and am on Tamoxifen. My B.C. was diagnosed 2011.
I probably drank too much as well,took H.R.T and ate the wrong foods! On the plus side I am fit, slimish and breast-fed 4 children! I agree apart from generic breast cancer it seems to be random!
On saying that any research is good and Ragwort is a poisonous plant so well worth investigating. I will always wear gloves now!

Another Ragwort puller (I hate the bl***y stuff, it’s never ending) but always wear gloves as it seems to give me a headache otherwise. My BC is estrogen positive so my pear shaped, overweight, post menapausal probability of carrying more estrogen is probably the biggest risk. I always advice anyone to wear gloves when touching ragwort though as it is quite toxic. I have had to let a friend take my riding pony as she pulls to much (ex driving pony) and my arm swells up :frowning: but still have my beloved old Dales mare at home.

im not a ragwort puller… however you can almost find anything that may cause BC… a couple of years ago i found out that 7 of my BC friends went ice skating as teenagers and i did too… so we jokingly say Ice skating causes BC.

there are loads more people who have had contact with ragwort/ice skating/alcohol/bottle feeding/HRT who havent developed BC than those who have… even the genuine risks are not direct causes… they just may increase your chances slightly… but the biggest causes are being female and getting older so not really much you can do about either of those.

take care x

As usual I agree with Lulu. I decided it was the really bad virus I had the January before that enabled it to grow but in reality if only they did really know then they could eradicate it…one day perhaps. As it is I am female getting older and it runs in the family a bit.
Cackles xxx
PS keep up the good work with the dreaded ragwort and wear gloves to avoid lymphodema because of an infection.
Cackles xx

Hi guys.
Like you a think its one of those things. they’re just looking into the possible link. don’t think age has much to do with mine. Im 29 lol x x