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Study Rates Breast Cancer Risks Among Races

Researchers find white and black women share certain risks; other factors more distinctive

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- White women and black women in the United States share certain breast cancer risk factors but appear to have distinctive risk factors as well, a new study shows.

Researchers conducting on ongoing study have so far enrolled 1,826 white and 360 black women with breast cancer, and 1,766 healthy white and 240 healthy black women. The initial data shows that lack of physical activity and being overweight or obese are associated with a 20 percent increased risk of breast cancer in both groups of women.

Dr. Yong Cui, an assistant professor of medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues have also found that:

  • A family history of breast cancer was associated with a 60 percent increased risk in white women and a 70 percent increased risk in black women.
  • A personal history of benign breast disease was linked with an 80 percent increased risk in white women and a 40 percent increased risk in black women.
  • Onset of menstruation after age 12 was associated with a reduced risk of up to 40 percent in white women, but did not reduce risk among black women.
  • A personal history of benign breast disease was noted in 28 percent of black women and 49 percent of white women.
  • Black women were more likely to be physically inactive (58 percent) than white women (46 percent), and also more likely to be overweight and obese (80 percent vs. 58 percent).

The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, in Denver.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer risk.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, April 19, 2009

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