Exogenous environmental factors and susceptibility for breast cancer in Mexican American women

Gabriel Ibarra-Mejia, University of Texas at El Paso


Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers, with the highest age-adjusted incidence, and also the main cause of death from cancer for women in the United States. There is a considerable amount of accumulated epidemiological data supporting a lower risk of breast cancer from healthy eating, activity and lifestyle practices. Prevalence of breast cancer across ethnicities suggest that differences in unhealthy diet, lifestyle and behaviors, may play a role in its development. The study was conducted at the University Breast Care Center (UBCC) at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso. Participants in the study were Mexican-American women attending the UBCC for annual breast examination from September 2002 through February 2005. The study was conducted as a multi-phase sampling method. A total of 163 participants were included in the first phase of the study. Participants were assigned to the breast cancer or no breast cancer groups. The average age of all participants was 47 ± 13.5 years. A total of 29 participants (17.86%) had a positive diagnosis of breast cancer. Risk factors for breast cancer family history of breast cancer, age at onset of menarche, gravity and parity, menopausal status, use of hormonal replacement therapy, consumption of alcohol, and obesity were not significantly different between groups. Increased risk for breast cancer was observed for consumption of bacon (OR=2.618; 95% CI=1.119 - 6.124, p=<0.05). Breast cancer was unrelated to consumption of a variety of foods. In the second phase of the study, parameters associated with a high risk for insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome (IR/MS) (waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting glucose and Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) score) were measured in a subset of 84 participants. A categorical scale to assess total risk score for IR/MS and its association to breast cancer was developed using these parameters. Additionally, waist-to-hip ratio, LDL cholesterol, fasting insulin, and estradiol levels were measured. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Environmental science|Womens studies|Public health

Recommended Citation

Ibarra-Mejia, Gabriel, "Exogenous environmental factors and susceptibility for breast cancer in Mexican American women" (2005). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3196421.