October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! It is the perfect time to educate women about breast cancer. It is also an ideal time to highlight that women of different ethnic groups have different rates of female hormone receptor breast cancers.
African-American women have higher rates of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative, progesterone receptor (PR)-negative than other ethnic groups. This type of cancer has higher death rates and poorer prognoses than other types of cancers.
Some of the reasons that African-American women are affected have to do with socio-economic, genetic, and education-related factors. Others are impacted by (lack of) access to health care.
Genetically more African-American women have an estrogen receptor (ER)-negative form of breast cancer. This form is insensitive to the hormone estrogen, is more aggressive, and more difficult to treat. This form leads to more deaths.
Black Women's Health Study (BWHS) is a study conducted by researchers at the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). For the last 12 years the study has followed over 50,000 African-American Women.
Some of the findings may lower the risk of developing breast cancer. The women that ate more vegetables per week had a lower incidence of breast cancer than women that did not eat as many vegetables.
The results, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2011, show that eating at least two vegetables a day lowers estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer risk by 43 percent, compared to those who only had four servings of vegetables or less per week.
Eating carrots or cruciferous vegetables lowered risks for all breast cancers. Examples of cruciferous vegetables include kale, cabbage, broccoli and collard greens.
When research is conducted on a specific group it is a gift to that group to understand how their health or disease can be impacted in a positive way. It is a great study for African-American women.
What is incredible about these findings is that a healthy plant-based diet can lower an African- American woman’s risk of getting breast cancer just by following the U.S. guidelines.