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Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Hispanic vs Non-Hispanic Women

Posted Apr 28 2010 7:22am
Differences in breast cancer risk, breast cancer stage at diagnosis, and breast cancer survival are evident between different races.  For example, breast cancer incidence after age 45 is higher in Caucasian women than African-American women; however, breast cancer mortality is higher in African-American women than Caucasian women at any age.  While these differences between races are evident, the reasons for these differences remain unclear and are an active area of research.

One new breast cancer study examined differences in breast cancer risk factors between Hispanic women and non-Hispanic white women.  In this population-based study, risk estimates for breast cancer were determined and compared between the two groups of women.  The results of this study showed that differences in certain risk factors were evident between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women.  Some of these differences included
  • Taller height and positive family history were not associated with breast cancer in premenopausal Hispanic women, but were associated with breast cancer in premenopausal non-Hispanic white women.
  • Some common breast cancer risk factors in postmenopausal non-Hispanic white women, like estrogen + progesterone hormone therapy use and younger age at first menstrual cycle, were only weakly related to breast cancer risk in Hispanic women.
  • Only 7-36% of breast cancers in Hispanic women were due to known, evaluated breast cancer risk factors.
This is interesting information that increases our breast cancer awareness in regards to racial differences in breast cancer risk factors.  The final bullet point above is particularly intersting. One could assume based on those numbers that the majority of breast cancers in Hispanic women are due to different, perhaps unknown breast cancer risk factors.  Overall, these breast cancer researchers suggested that some of the typical breast cancer risk factors observed in non-Hispanic white women have little bearing on breast cancer risk in Hispanic women.  This study emphasizes the possible importance of developing race-specific breast cancer risk models in order to determine risk factors important to specific populations.  This could eventually lead to improvements in breast cancer treatments and outcomes in the future.

Increasing our awareness of breast cancer differences is important in order to develop appropriate breast cancer risk reduction strategies.  To increase your awareness of diet and lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your personal breast cancer risk, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at www.fightBCnow.com
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