Mortality from breast cancer is markedly higher in African American
women as compared to white women in the United States, in part because they are
more likely to be diagnosed with estrogen receptor-negative tumors (ER-negative tumors), which are more
aggressive and difficult to treat.
African American women are also
diagnosed with breast cancer at younger ages.
‘Black women under the age of 45 are at increased risk for an aggressive form of breast cancer if they experienced a high number of pregnancies, never breast fed, and/or had higher waist-to-hip ratio.’
Black women under the age of 45 are at increased risk for an aggressive
form of breast cancer if they
experienced a high number of pregnancies, never breast fed, and/or had
higher waist-to-hip ratio. These findings appear in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention.
Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center used
18 years of data from 57,708 African American women enrolled in the
Black Women's Health Study, a follow-up study of the health of African
American women in progress since 1995.
They evaluated the relation of
reproductive factors, measures of body size, and other factors to
incidence of ER-negative and ER-positive breast cancer in both younger
and older women.
"Very little is known about how young women can reduce
their personal risk of ER-negative breast cancer," said Kimberly
Bertrand, epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston
University and assistant professor of medicine at Boston University
School of Medicine, who led this study. "Most exciting among our
findings is that two of the factors we found to be important -
breastfeeding and higher waist-to-hip ratio - are modifiable, which
suggests opportunities for risk reduction or prevention."