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  • Ethnic differences in breast cancer incidence in England are due to differences in known risk factors for the disease: Prospective study

    16 October 2018

    Background:In the United Kingdom, breast cancer incidence is lower in South Asian and Black women than in White women, but the extent to which this is due to known risk factors is unknown. In a large prospective study, we describe breast cancer incidence by ethnicity, before and after adjustment for known risk factors for the disease.Methods:Women were recruited into the Million Women Study in 1996-2001, when information on reproductive and lifestyle factors known to influence the risk of breast cancer was obtained. Ethnicity was determined from study questionnaires and hospital admission data. Cox regression models were used to calculate adjusted relative risks (RR) for incident breast cancer in South Asians and Blacks compared with Whites.Results:Analyses included 5877 South Asian, 4919 Black, and 1 038 144 White women in England. The prevalence of 8 out of the 9 risk factors for breast cancer examined, differed substantially by ethnicity (P<0.001 for each), such that South Asian and Black women were at a lower risk of the disease than White women. During 12.2 years of follow-up incident breast cancer occurred in 217 South Asians, 180 Blacks, and 45 191 Whites. As expected, breast cancer incidence was lower in South Asians (RR=0.82, 95% CI 0.72-0.94) and Blacks (RR=0.85, 0.73-0.98) than in Whites when the analyses were adjusted only for age and region of residence. However, after additional adjustment for the known risk factors for the disease, breast cancer incidence was similar to that of Whites, both in South Asians (0.95, 0.83-1.09) and in Blacks (0.91, 0.78-1.05).Conclusion:South Asian and Black women in England have lower incidence rates of breast cancer than White women, but this is largely, if not wholly, because of differences in known risk factors for the disease. © 2014 Cancer Research UK.

  • Hormone replacement therapy and false positive recall in the Million Women Study: patterns of use, hormonal constituents and consistency of effect

    16 October 2018

    INTRODUCTION: Current and recent users of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have an increased risk of being recalled to assessment at mammography without breast cancer being diagnosed ('false positive recall'), but there is limited information on the effects of different patterns of HRT use on this. The aim of this study is to investigate in detail the relationship between patterns of use of HRT and false positive recall. METHODS: A total of 87,967 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 64 years attending routine breast cancer screening at 10 UK National Health Service Breast Screening Units from 1996 to 1998 joined the Million Women Study by completing a questionnaire before screening and were followed for their screening outcome. RESULTS: Overall, 399 (0.5%) participants were diagnosed with breast cancer and 2,629 (3.0%) had false positive recall. Compared to never users of HRT, the adjusted relative risk (95% CI) of false positive recall was: 1.62 (1.43-1.83), 1.80 (1.62-2.01) and 0.76 (0.52-1.10) in current users of oestrogen-only HRT, oestrogen-progestagen HRT and tibolone, respectively (p (heterogeneity) < 0.0001); 1.65 (1.43-1.91), 1.49 (1.22-1.81) and 2.11 (1.45-3.07) for current HRT used orally, transdermally or via an implant, respectively (p (heterogeneity) = 0.2); and 1.84 (1.67-2.04) and 1.75 (1.49-2.06) for sequential and continuous oestrogen-progestagen HRT, respectively (p (heterogeneity) = 0.6). The relative risk of false positive recall among current users appeared to increase with increasing time since menopause, but did not vary significantly according to any other factors examined, including duration of use, hormonal constituents, dose, whether single- or two-view screening was used, or the woman's personal characteristics. CONCLUSION: Current use of oestrogen-only and oestrogen-progestagen HRT, but not tibolone, increases the risk of false positive recall at screening.

  • The epidemiology of epithelial ovarian cancer: A review

    16 October 2018

    This paper presents a review of the scientific literature investigating the epidemiology of epithelial ovarian cancer. Epithelial ovarian cancer is an important cause of cancer death among women in industrialized countries, and incidence increases with age. It is more common among women of low parity and among those with a family history of the disease. Oral contraceptive use, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, and sterilization have all been shown to protect against epithelial ovarian cancer, while the role of other reproductive and environmental factors, such as infertility, fertility drugs and hormone replacement therapy, is less clear. The evidence to date is discussed in this review.

  • Screening for cervical cancer: is there a place for incorporating tests for the human papillomavirus?

    16 October 2018

    Well organized screening programmes for cervical cancer, based on exfoliative cervical cytology, are known to be effective at reducing the incidence of invasive cervical cancer and mortality from the disease. HPV testing should not replace cervical cytology as the first-line approach in screening for cervical cancer, as HPV testing is not sufficiently reliable and some cancers are not associated with HPV infection. Even though there are many unanswered questions about the validity of HPV tests, it is timely to consider whether HPV testing might improve the management of the substantial number of women whose smears are neither clearly normal nor abnormal, but are described as atypical, suspicious or mildly dyskaryotic. The efficacy and costs of incorporating HPV testing into a cervical cancer screening programme need to be evaluated in controlled trials.