Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Breast cancer in Australian women under the age of 40
McCredie, M. R., Dite, G. S., Giles, G. G., Hopper, J. L. Cancer Causes & Control. 1998. 9:2, 189-98.
Topic area
Body size
Study design
Population based case-control
Funding agency
Other: National Health and Medical Research Counci
Study Participants
Number of Cases
467 (invasive only)
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Number of Controls
Control: 408
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: Women under the age of 40 years; diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in Melbourne between 1/1/92 and 7/30/95 or in Sydney between 1/1/93 and 7/10/95 (cases); spoke English; lived in the metropolitan area; selected from electoral rolls (controls) Ex: Women with Incomplete data
Comment about participation selection
Strengths: Study focused on women under 40 years of age, first and second degree relatives were interviewed to obtain cancer history amongst relatives of participants, in-person interviews and introductory letters minimized information bias, and cases were obtained through population cancer registries which minimized selection bias Limitations: Low participation rate amongst cases and controls, in situ breast cancers were not included in study, anthropometric data self-reported and recall bias could have been a factor
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Height, weight, weight at age 18-21 yrs and BMI
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, in person
Exposure assessment comment
Anthropometric data self-reported
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Adequately controlled, Confounders: center, reference age, country of birth, education, marital status, age at menarche, parity, age at first live birth, family history of breast cancer, benign breast disease, height, weight at reference age, and oral con
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Strength of associations reported
Association between premenopausal breast cancer risk and height, > 168 cm vs. < 156 cm, RR= 1.8 (1.1-2.9); trend p = 0.009
Association between premenopausal breast cancer risk and weight, >73 kg vs. < 52 kg, RR=0.6(0.4-1.0) trend p=0.1
Association between premenopausal breast cancer risk and BMI, > 26.90 vs. < 20.32, OR = 0.5 (0.3-0.8) trend p=0.1
Author address
Cancer Epidemiology Research Unit, New South Wales Cancer Council, Sydney, Australia.
Controls participation rate
Less than 70% (64.4%)