From the Strang Cancer Prevention Center 

International Conference

"Diet and Breast Cancer Surveillance among Urban Black Women" by S. Sheinfeld Gorin, M. Northridge, Divisions of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia School of Public Health

Diet is a major contributor to ethnic and racial differences in cancer rates. Lesser use of surveillance (Clinical breast exams and mammography) also increase the cancer-related mortality rates among black women through later stage at diagnosis.

Yet little is known about the conjoint effects of diet and surveillance among black women of different ages. The purpose of this study is to assess diet and breast cancer surveillance according to age among Harlem women. In-person interviews were conducted among 408 Harlem women aged 18-65 (86% black) who were randomly selected from dwelling unit enumeration lists. Psychometrically sound measures of dietary intake were used. Multivariate trend analyses revealed a gradual increase in the use of surveillance among black women aged 40-65, alongside an increase in body weight, and a decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption.

Among a subgroup of black women ages 50-65, however, the intake of fruits and vegetables were significantly associated with less recent surveillance.

These findings suggest that a subset of older, urban black women may choose dietary modification instead of the conventional breast cancer surveillance techniques.

The attributes of distinct subcultures must therefore be considered in designing and assessing the multiple effects of chemoprevention interventions.

Lifestyle & Risk

J Cancer, 1/03

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