Breast Cancer Risks Differ with Race
All of the participants in the study were asked about known risk factors for breast cancer including reproductive history, activity level, height, hormone use, alcohol intake and family history.
For postmenopausal women in the study, "recent hormone use and younger age at menarche did not appear to play as big a role in Hispanics," said Dr. Lisa M. Hines, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Colorado and lead author of the study.
For the younger women, the study found that common breast cancer risk factors such as above average height and a family history of the disease did not appear to be as strongly linked for Hispanic women as they are among white women.
Researchers have been aware of the fact that breast cancer rates and death rates from the disease vary by ethnic group. According to a national database, Hispanic women are less likely than white women to get breast cancer. On the other hand, those Hispanic women who do get breast cancer are more likely to die from the disease.
"That's been known for a long time," Hines said. "The question is why."
She said more study is needed, and that Hispanic women should still follow the same cancer-prevention advice as other women. This includes regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet and regularly scheduling mammograms.