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Cancer Risk Factors Differ for Hispanics, Non-Hispanic Whites

Smaller percentage of breast cancer cases in Hispanics attributable to established risk factors

MONDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer risk factors that have been established in non-Hispanic white (NHW) women have less influence on the risk of breast cancer in Hispanic women, according to a study published online April 26 in Cancer.

Lisa M. Hines, of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and colleagues conducted a population-based, case-control study of Hispanic and NHW women in the southwestern United States. Cases were women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1999 and 2002; controls were same-ethnicity, age-matched women without breast cancer.

Overall, the researchers found that NHW women had a higher incidence of breast cancer compared with Hispanic women for every age group examined. Risk factors which had associations with breast cancer among NHW premenopausal women but not among Hispanic premenopausal women included taller height and positive family history. For postmenopausal women, risk factors for NHWs included recent estrogen plus progestin use and younger age at menarche, but these associations were weaker or did not exist for Hispanic women. Sixty-two to 75 percent of breast cancers were attributed to evaluated risk factors in NHW women, but only 7 to 36 percent in Hispanic women. In addition, Hispanic women were more likely to have characteristics linked to lower risk, such as younger age at first birth, more children, shorter height, less hormone use, and less alcohol consumption.

"These findings reflect the need for additional studies to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence breast cancer development among Hispanics and in other ethnic and racial populations," the authors conclude.

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