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Asian American Community Health Initiative

Scarlett Lin Gomez, PhD, at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California; Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Asian Health Services; and Asian Americans for Community Involvement
Study abstract

High and rapidly increasing incidence rates of breast cancer among California Asian Americans (AA) have been masked by rates that are traditionally reported for AAs as an aggregated group. Not only do rates vary considerably among AA ethnic subgroups, the research team recently showed that they are high among young US-born women, and rapidly increasing among some US-born and foreign-born groups; for some, rates were even higher than among non-Hispanic white women in California.

The research team will recruit AA controls from the same source population to form a population-based case-control study of breast cancer risk, thereby creating a unique multilevel dataset that will allow them to address the following specific aims: to determine, among controls, 1) the associations between perceived stress and the immigration experience and discrimination, and how these associations are modified by generational status, timing of immigration, and coping styles; 2) how other relevant breast cancer exposures, including age-specific markers of infectious disease exposures, physical activity and body size, and dietary intake and behaviors, vary with generational status and timing of immigration; 3) the extent to which the factors in Aims 1 and 2 vary according to family, social network, and neighborhood characteristics and relationships; and 4) among cases and controls, identify the associations between the factors in Aims 1 and 2 and breast cancer risk among AAs.

Study review

This study, a collaboration by the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Asian Health Services, and Asian Americans for Community Involvement, is gathering information that may help researchers understand why breast cancer rates are increasing among some Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women in the San Francisco Bay Area. The researchers had already completed enrollment of women with breast cancer when they contacted the Army of Women (AOW) and were ready to recruit women who had never had breast cancer. They wanted to enroll up to 300 volunteers from the following San Francisco Bay Area counties: San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. The Call to Action for this study was sent to AOW members on April 24, 2013, and the researchers closed enrollment on April 30, 2015. As one of their recruitment sources, the AOW provided them with 139 women who were interested in enrolling in the study.

Study proposal