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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Columns & Features > BlogBeat > New Model Helps Better Predict Breast Cancer in Latinas

New Model Helps Better Predict Breast Cancer in Latinas

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A new risk-prediction breast cancer model based entirely on data from Latino women provides a more accurate assessment of Latina women’s risk of developing breast cancer than existing models.

The model presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) used data from the San Francisco Bay Area Breast Cancer Study, “focused on 1,086 Latina women with breast cancer and 1,411 without breast cancer cancer.”

“Currently, there is no breast cancer risk-prediction model for Hispanic women,” said Matthew P. Banegas, PhD, MPH, investigator with Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, and primary author of the study. “We developed a model based on data on ethnicity, nativity, and breast cancer risk factors, as well as incidence and mortality rates in Hispanic women, which allowed us to create a more specific tool to predict their risk of developing invasive breast cancer.”

What are the factors incorporated into the new prediction model?

  • A woman’s age at first full-term pregnancy: Women who have children at younger ages tend to have a lower risk of breast cancer. Studies show that Hispanic women born outside the United States tend to start having children at a younger age than Hispanic women born in the United States.
  • A woman’s age at first menstrual period: The younger a woman is when she starts menstruating, the greater her lifetime exposure to estrogen, which has been shown to increase breast cancer risk. Prior research has shown that Hispanic women born outside the United States may be older when they start menstruating than Hispanic women born in the United States.
  • Having had a biopsy for benign breast disease: Breast cancer risk is increased among women with benign breast disease. In the risk-prediction model, the risk associated with this factor was slightly greater for Hispanic women born outside the United States than for Hispanic women born in the United States.
  • Family history of breast cancer in first-degree relatives: Women with a family history of breast cancer have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Prior studies show that Hispanic women born outside the United States are less likely to have a family history of breast cancer compared with Hispanic women born in the United States.

The model is currently  more applicable to Latinas in the Bay Area, but according to Benegas once more researchers around the country collect more data from Hispanic women that data will be incorporated into the model to make it more accurate.

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