Disparities in breast cancer research
By Jill Pease
African-American women have a higher incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, but they remain under-represented in genetic family linkage studies of breast cancer. Elisa M. Rodriguez, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Health Professions’ department of behavioral science and community health, and colleagues recently published a study in the Journal of Community Genetics that addresses barriers to participation in genetic studies for women with breast cancer and their female relatives.
Using a community-based participatory approach, the researchers found that themes of helping future generations through research participation were viewed positively by the women, while reluctance to talk about disease within a family and fears of cancer and death may discourage participation in family-based genetic research.
Using this information, the team, led by principal investigator Heather Ochs-Balcom, Ph.D., of the University at Buffalo, developed “The Jewels in our Genes” study to educate and recruit African-American women and their families for genetic breast cancer research studies. The program is currently being used for study recruitment in Buffalo, N.Y., and nationwide.