Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
Print this page
Height and breast cancer risk: results from the Black Women's Health Study (United States)
Palmer, J. R., Rao, R. S., Adams-Campbell, L. L., Rosenberg, L. Cancer Causes & Control. 2001. 12:4, 343-8.
Topic area
Body size
Study design
Nested case-control
Study Participants
Number of Cases
910 (700 prevalent) (210 incident)
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls:4,535 (frequency matched)
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
In: Age 21-69 at baseline (1995) and participants in the Black Women's Health Study Ex: Missing information on height
Comment about participation selection
Strengths: Large number of cases/controls, and few participants were excluded from study Limitations: Anthropometric measurements were self reported which allows a potential for bias, study does not indicate whether women with previous cancers were excluded, medical records for only 285 out of 910 cases were obtained and confirmed, menopausal status was not determined for 33% of prevalent cases, and follow up period lasted only 2 years
Exposure Investigated
How exposure was measured
Questionnaire, self-administered
Exposure assessment comment
Anthropometric data was self-reported
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
African Americans
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: age, age at menarche and years of education Family history of breast cancer,age at first birth, parity and alcohol consumption were not found to be confounders
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
Effect modifiers: menopausal status, years of education, family history Follow up: 2 years
Strength of associations reported
Association between breast cancer risk and height (incident cases only), > 70 in. vs. < 61 in., OR=3.0(1.3-6.5)
Association between premenopausal breast cancer risk and taller women, > 70 in. vs. < 61 in., OR=2.1(1.2-3.6) trend p=0.0003
Association between breast cancer risk and taller women who had less than 16 years of education, > 70 in. vs. < 61 in., OR=2.0(1.2-3.3) trend p=0.0003
Association between breast cancer risk and taller women who had no family history of breast cancer, > 70 in. vs. < 61 in., OR=1.6(1.1-2.4) trend p=0.0004
Author address
Slone Epidemiology Unit, Boston University School of Medicine, Brookline, MA 02446, USA. jpalmer@slone.bu.edu