Purpose: While the literature has no conclusive causal relationship between nutrition and breast cancer, diet is believed to play a role in the development of breast cancer. This investigation focuses on differences of dietary practice between Caucasians and African Americans in a cohort of women presenting for breast cancer screening.
Methods: Over a one-year period, 675 women presenting to the Breast Health Center at Tulane University Medical Center for an initial visit were given a self-reported health behavior questionnaire. Included in this survey were questions concerning the frequency of raw vegetable consumption and fat/oil intake.
Main findings: The overall proportion of women who presented for breast cancer screening that reported daily raw vegetable consumption in the study group was 40%. There were statistically significant differences between proportions of Caucasian women's and African American women's consumption of daily raw vegetable (51% versus 29%, respectively; P < 0.0001). These differences were not seen in daily fat/oil intake. No differences were seen in socioeconomic measures.
Conclusions: There is a substantial difference in the consumption of potentially protective foods among major ethnic groups. These dietary differences should be taken into account when investigating the ethnic differences in women with breast cancer, as well as the relationship between breast cancer and nutrition.