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Breast Density Patterns in African Immigrants and African-American Women

Tomi Akinyemiju, PhD, Columbia University, New York, NY
Study abstract

Mammographic breast density is one of the strongest and most consistent risk factors known for the development of breast cancer. Studies have reported a 2- to 4- fold increase in the risk of breast cancer among women with mostly dense breasts compared to women with less dense breasts. Several studies have observed racial/ethnic differences in the distribution of mammographic breast density across White, African-American and Asian women in the U.S. However, very little is known about the distribution of mammographic breast density among first- and second- generation African women residing in the US. This is a population of women that has been understudied as a separate racial/ethnic category, and often categorized together with African American women. There are important cultural and lifestyle differences that are relevant for breast cancer development that may be different between first- and second-generation African and African-American women. These are factors which, together with other biological and genetic features, may also significantly influence the patterns of mammographic density. In addition, despite a large body of cross-sectional studies of mammographic density, few studies have considered repeated measures of density, and the determinants of changes in breast density are not well understood. This study would add to the existing literature by examining breast density patterns among African immigrants and associated risk factors, and assess if these risk factors are associated with changes in breast density patterns over time.

Study review

The purpose of this study is to examine the patterns of breast density (the non-fatty portion of breast tissue) among African immigrant and African-American women living in the United States, and to find out factors that affect the amount of breast density in women. The researchers wanted to enroll 300 women to participate in this study.