Friday, February 4, 2011

New study seeks genetic component to high rates of breast cancer in black women

We already know that African-American women have higher rates of breast cancer than our white counterparts. We are also more likely to die of breast cancer, in part because the cancer we tend to get is more aggressive than other forms. A new study is now asking if it's possible that there are certain  inherited genetic mutations that may also be responsible for our increased rates of breast cancer.

Heather Ochs-Balcom, PhD at the University at Buffalo believes genetics plays an important role in black breast cancer rates and she and her team are looking for women to participate in a study. They are specifically looking for African-American women who were diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage, including metastatic disease and DCIS, AND their relatives who are also breast cancer survivors. This study may sound familiar to you, as Army of Women were helping to recruit women for the study in October 2010. The researchers are working toward their goal of enrolling 400 women in the study but still need more families to participate.

The study will help to better understand if there are undiscovered genes unique to African Americans that may predict early breast cancer risk. If you join the Jewels in Our Genes study you will be asked questions about your breast cancer diagnosis and about your family history of breast cancer. You will be asked to give a sample of saliva so that the researchers can collect your DNA. You can join the Jewels in Our Genes study if you match ALL of these criteria: you are a woman older than 18; you consider yourself to be Black/African American; you were diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage, including metastatic disease and DCIS. There is no time limit since diagnosis and it is OK if you are currently receiving treatment. You must also have at least one living female blood relative who was also diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage; you have tested negative for the BRCA 1 and 2 mutations (if known); and you live in the US.
If you are interested in being a part of this study, you can RSVP and the researcher will ask you additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

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