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Targeted strategies needed to find, prevent and treat breast cancer among Mexican-origin women
Date:9/1/2010

Task Force recommends, we fear a huge number of breast cancer cases won't be picked up at an early stage, especially with the growth of the Hispanic population in this country," said Melissa Bondy, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Epidemiology and senior corresponding author.

The study, which is among the first to use a non-clinical, population-based sample to examine the risk of breast cancer in this group, identified 714 Hispanic women in the Houston area from MD Anderson's Mano a Mano Mexican-American Cohort Study: 119 with breast cancer and 595 without cancer.

Several factors were compared including:

  • Age at diagnosis
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Marital status, number of children and education
  • Health insurance status
  • Language acculturation (ability to speak English)
  • Country of birth (U.S. or Mexico)

Family History, Acculturation Raise Risk

Women at highest risk for breast cancer - 2-1/2 times other women surveyed - had a family history of the disease, spoke English well and were born in Mexico.

The strongest risk factor was family history, which increased odds fourfold and was found to be true of 85 percent who had breast cancer. This indicates that women with a strong family history of breast cancer should receive earlier and more frequent screening, Bondy said.

The role of acculturation was striking too. Women who were born in Mexico and spoke English well had 2-1/2 times the risk of women born in Mexico who did not.

Single women were almost twice as likely as married women to develop breast cancer, and women without insurance were 1-1/2 times more likely than those with insurance to be diagnosed. Women who do not have insurance are less likely to be screened.

Although the study is fairly small, researchers believe it shows the need for clear action on several fronts.

Going forward, we believe its essential to create
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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