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UofL students seek answers to breast cancer disparities in minority populations
Date:10/25/2011

Understanding the influence of genetics, lifestyle and environment on breast cancer in minority populations is the focus of research for University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences (SPHIS) doctoral students Avonne Connor, Nandita Das and Stephanie Denkhoff.

Through a SPHIS Department of Epidemiology & Population Health (EPH) training program established with a grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the students are building on the National Cancer Institute funded work of two faculty mentors, Kathy B. Baumgartner, PhD, and Richard Baumgartner, PhD. The primary purpose of the training program is to transition trainees into mentored dissertation and post-doctoral research - testing hypotheses on racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic differences in breast cancer risk and prognosis.

The Komen grant provides the students with tuition, health insurance and a stipend for two years. Graduate students in the training program must have an interest in learning the reasons for differences in breast cancer rates among minority populations, and seek to translate research findings into clinical and public health practice to eliminate disparities.

Kathy B. Baumgartner, a Bucks for Brains cancer epidemiologist, is the principal investigator for the New Mexico component of the 4-Corners Breast Cancer Study (4-CBCS), a study she began while on faculty at the University of New Mexico. The study of 5,000 women with and without breast cancer was conducted in the Four Corners Southwest states. This study explores the differences between breast cancer incidence rates for Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women. The main focus of the study was on the relationship between breast cancer and obesity.

Genetics and other lifestyle exposures also were considered, including diet and physical activity. Now, the students are evaluating pre-collected DNA samples of women involved in the 4-CBCS. Through this research, they ar
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Contact: Julie Heflin
julie.heflin@louisville.edu
502-852-7987
University of Louisville
Source:Eurekalert

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