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Ethnicity-related variation in breast cancer risk factors†
Article first published online: 18 DEC 2002
Copyright © 2003 American Cancer Society
Supplement: Summit Meeting on Breast Cancer Among African American Women
Volume 97, Issue Supplement 1, pages 222–229, 1 January 2003
How to Cite
Bernstein, L., Teal, C. R., Joslyn, S. and Wilson, J. (2003), Ethnicity-related variation in breast cancer risk factors. Cancer, 97: 222–229. doi: 10.1002/cncr.11014
This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.
- Issue published online: 18 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 18 DEC 2002
- Manuscript Received: 14 SEP 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 SEP 2002
- breast cancer;
- risk factors;
- African Americans;
- higher incidence rates
A variety of factors are predictors of breast cancer risk. However, the studies conducted to establish these risk factors have rarely included African American women. The few studies with sufficient numbers of African-American women suggest that risk factors for breast cancer among African-American women are similar to those of white women. Although risk factors may be similar for African-American and white women, differences in the prevalence of risk factors may explain the differences in patterns of incidence.
The authors reviewed the epidemiologic studies of breast cancer among African-American women and identified resources with information regarding the prevalence of risk factors among African American and white women.
Considerable variation exists in the studies of breast cancer risk factors among African American women. Because few studies have included sufficient numbers of African-American women, no firm conclusions can be drawn regarding whether risk estimates for African American women differ from those of white women. Estimates of the prevalence of breast cancer risk factors indicate that African American and white women differ in terms of their ages at menarche, menstrual cycle patterns, birth rates, lactation histories, patterns of oral contraceptive use, levels of obesity, frequency of menopausal hormone use, physical activity patterns, and alcohol intake.
The risk factor profile of African-American women appears to differ from that of white women. This may explain in part, the higher incidence rates for African Americans before age 45 years and the lower incidence rates at older ages. Discussions of these data at a workshop highlighted the need for future research on breast cancer risk among African Americans. This research should acknowledge the heterogeneous heritage, cultural beliefs, and cultural knowledge of African-American women. Studies conducted in collaboration with the African-American community of women and with the breast cancer advocacy community can benefit from assistance in the design of questionnaires and recruitment of participants. Cancer 2003;97:(1 Suppl)222–9. Published 2003 by the American Cancer Society.