Thursday, August 18, 2011

Study: Black Women with More Children More Likely to Develop Breast Cancer

by Shani K. Collins, Your Black World 

The Black Women’s Health Study, a 16-year breast cancer study conducted by researchers at Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center found that African-American women who have more children are more likely to develop breast cancer that is more aggressive to treat.  This form of cancer is called estrogen and progesterone receptor negative cancer (ER-/PR-), which means the receptors in the breast are negative, and less likely to respond to therapies.  Doctors specifically target these receptors to treat cancer.

The study involved 59,000 African-American women who completed health surveys every two years.  It revealed that from 1995 to 2009, 457 Black women developed estrogen and progesterone receptor positive cancers (ER+/PR+), and 318 developed (ER-/PR-) negative cancers.  A 50% increase in negative breast cancer was found in the women who gave birth to two or more children; however, this association was not found when the women breastfed.   Surprisingly, the study also found that women who had two or more children and breastfed experienced lower levels of positive cancers.

In short, the finding suggests that African-American women who have more children are more likely to develop more aggressive, difficult-to-treat breast cancer whether they breast feed or not.  The researchers added, “Black women on average have more children than White women, and this association may partially explain why they are more likely to develop aggressive breast cancer.”

The researchers encourage breast feeding among African-American women, as it may help to reduce the number of deadly cancers found among this population.  Such research findings might encourage more African-American women to have the American Cancer Society’s recommended breast health screenings: annual mammograms, annual clinical breast exams, and monthly breast self-exams.

Shani K. Collins is a doctoral student at the University of Alabama studying breast cancer among rural African-American women. You may visit her


David said...

Stop trying to reduce the black population with these and other scare tactics as an alternative to birth control . I come from a very large family on my mother's and father's side and though some form of cancer overcame relatives life is about love of family not being brainwashed by scientist and studies.

ayannaflower said...

I cosign that

ayannaflower said...

The white race is having major problems with fertility expecially since they have been championing gay rights more than having babies.
This is a racist study to scare black women from producing. They are trying all sorts of things to keep the black race on their way to dying out! We as women cannot...and I say CANNOT get cancer from bearing children!!!!