Breast cancer among immigrants: a systematic review and new research directions

J Immigr Minor Health. 2007 Oct;9(4):307-22. doi: 10.1007/s10903-007-9037-y.


This paper highlights the relationship between migration and female breast cancer. A comprehensive review aimed at identifying risk and protective factors that cut across races and ethnicities was performed. A total of 79 studies (1971-2005) from 16 countries were reviewed. The findings are consistent with existing knowledge about the importance of potentially modifiable environmental and behavioral determinants of risk, acting both pre- and post-migration. While the acculturation-based risk transition model is strong, it is not always supported. As a new direction for migrant studies, we extrapolate the review findings to the experience of Eastern European (EE) immigrants. Health data on this population, typically characterized by low health motivation and passive receipt of preventive efforts, are largely unavailable. Based on relevant theory, empirical and qualitative studies, two breast cancer prevention models for the EE immigrant population are proposed and the need for future research using ethnically disaggregated data is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insurance Benefits
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology