Breast Cancer Among Mexican Origin Women

In a recent study published online in the journal Cancer, Kellogg Health Scholar Patricia Miranda, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues found that half of breast cancer cases in the study population (a subset of participants in the Mexican American Cohort study) were women diagnosed at less than 50 years of age. Current US Preventive Services Task Force screening guidelines recommend mammography screening begin at age 50 in the general population. These findings add to the evidence suggesting that Mexican origin women may be at higher risk for early onset, premenopausal breast cancer, and suggest the need for policies that target screening, education and treatment to reduce disparities in disease stage at diagnosis and mortality.

The research which was supported in part by Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment 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. 

The Mexican American Cohort was initiated several years ago to address the specific cancer-related issues of an understudied, underserved and rapidly growing segment of our population. It is anticipated that this will become the largest long-term health study of Mexican Americans and serve as a foundation for critical research on the impact of acculturation and unique exposures in this population. The comprehensive population-based study of individuals of Mexican origin living in the greater Harris County, Texas area will collect and archive detailed epidemiologic, nutritional and socio-cultural information and biologic samples for future analyses. It also includes comprehensive follow-up to ascertain disease incidence and mortality. Research will focus on understanding cancer-related risk factors as they emerge in a population undergoing dramatic social change due to immigration and exposure to other cultures. The initiative aims to identify behavioral and genetic risk factors in order to develop cancer prevention strategies and reduce cancer-related morbidity and mortality among people of Mexican origin residing in Harris County and beyond.