Joyce A. Hunter, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) recently represented the Center at the advisory board meeting of the Sister Study, a unique public private partnership that seeks to identify some of the genetic and environmental causes of breast cancer.
The Sister Study is the only long-term study in the United States and Puerto Rico of women ages 35 to 74 whose sisters had breast cancer. Begun in 2003, the study will follow 50,000 women for at least 10 years to learn how the environment and genes may affect a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer.
“NCMHD has been proud to support this research,” said Dr. Hunter. “It was encouraging to hear that the advisory board was especially appreciative of the Center’s efforts to ensure that the study is broadly representative.”
John Ruffin, Ph.D., Director of NCMHD said, “The Sister Study will provide valuable information about the different reasons women get breast cancer. While women from all walks of life may have common experiences that could increase their chances of developing breast cancer, it is important that women from all backgrounds participate so that the results of the study will apply to everyone.”
In FY 2007 NCMHD awarded $2.1 million to the study to assist in the recruitment and retention of a diverse cohort of women - African Americans, Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and Seniors age 65 and older. The Sister Study is conducted by an intramural component of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The private partners include the American Cancer Society, Sisters Network, Inc., the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization.
Breast cancer will affect 1 in 8 women in the US over their lifetimes. African American women are 10% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer but 35% more likely to die from it.