National Breast Cancer Study Still Seeking More Minorities To Enroll
With five months left to find additional participants, the Sister Study, which aims to determine the cause of breast cancer and its effects on women of different ethnicities, is 11,000 women short of its recruitment goal, the Detroit Free Press reports (Oleck, Detroit Free Press, 8/5).
The study, which is being conducted by NIH's Environmental Health Sciences -- seeks to recruit 50,000 U.S. women between ages 35 and 74, particularly minorities, those who work in nontraditional and industrial occupations, and those who are older than 55. Previous breast cancer studies have focused on primarily white, middle-class women, but researchers are uncertain if breast cancer risk factors among white women and other women are the same, Lisa DeRoo, an NIH researcher, said.
Researchers from the Sister Study are seeking black, Hispanic, Asian and American Indian women who have never been diagnosed with cancer but have a blood-related sister who has. Participants must commit to diagnostic tests, questionnaires and annual follow-up interviews over 10 years (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 1/8).
Minority women make up 12% of the 39,000 enrolled, and researchers have recruited, 2,324 black women. Recruiters look at cancer registries and contact cancer organizations and sororities by mail to find participants. Cultural and language barriers often hinder recruitment, the Free Press reports.
DeRoo said that researchers "really want the study to be representative of the women in the United States," adding, "We do know that the incidence of the disease and survival rates vary from group to group. ... Part of the reason why it's so important to recruit a diverse group of women is that we want the results to benefit the different women across the United States" (Detroit Free Press, 8/5).
In related news, NPR's "News & Notes" on Friday included a discussion with Gail Bishop, president of the San Francisco chapter of Sisters Network, about breast cancer survival rates among blacks ("News & Notes," NPR, 8/3). Audio of the segment is available online.