Breast Cancer in Hispanic Women Often Delayed


The American Association for Cancer Research is hosting a conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Carefree, AZ this week. Information from the ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study and the Hispanics from the San Francisco Bay Area Breast Cancer Study is being presented.

The ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study has recruited 652 women, about half Mexican-American women in the United States and half in Mexico. The study has so far determined that women in Mexico tend to be diagnosed at an older age than women in the United States, although many risk factors were similar.

Rachel Zenuk, presented information that suggests that breast cancer may be more aggressive in Hispanic women because they are waiting longer to receive treatment.

The data show that more than two-thirds of breast cancers in Hispanic women are found through self exam, while only 23 percent was found using screening mammography. Screening mammogram rates were found to be 83% in Hispanic women born in the U.S. compared to 62% among women not born in the U.S.

Very troubling is the finding that nearly half of the women who found a change in their breasts waited one month or more to seek medical attention. The most common reasons given were lack of insurance and inability to afford medical care.

Other information presented showed that U.S. born Hispanic women were more likely to have a number of risk factors for breast cancer, including obesity and a family history of the disease.


Hispanic women with a family history of breast cancer were more likely to have triple-negative breast cancer. This means the tumor is estrogen-receptor-negative, progesterone-receptor-negative, and HER2neu-receptor-negative and would call for different treatment options than other breast cancer types. This did not hold true of black women with a family history of the disease.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on breast cancer in Hispanic women.

American Association for Cancer Research --

Abstract Titles:

The ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study: Risk factor and tumor marker profile in women of Mexican ancestry.; presented by Maria M. Meza-Montenegro, Ph.D., a research professor at the Instituto Technológico de Sonora in Mexico, which will outline the profile of the women who enrolled in the ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study.

Breast cancer detection and screening mammography in Mexican-American women: Findings from the ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study; presented by Rachel Zenuk, a graduate student at The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

Increased odds of family history for triple-negative breast cancer in Mexican-American but not African-American women;presented by Betsy C. Wertheim, M.S., an assistant scientific investigator in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Arizona Cancer Center

Breast cancer risk factors in U.S.-born and foreign-born Hispanic women from the San Francisco Bay Area; presented by Esther John, Ph.D., a research scientist and epidemiologist at the Northern California Cancer Center

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