. "3 Overview of Programs of Research on Ethnic Minority and Medically Underserved Populations at the National Institutes of Health." The Unequal Burden of Cancer: An Assessment of NIH Research and Programs for Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1999.
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of esophageal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer and multiple myeloma in African Americans.
NCI lists three other ongoing, prospective studies (the Nurses' Health Study, the FELS Early Nutrition and Growth Study, and the Framingham Heart Study) that examine the relationship between nutritional and other risk factors and cancer in special populations. By NCI's own admission, however, these studies include very few ethnic minority participants and unknown numbers of lower-income or medically underserved participants. It is therefore unclear how research questions specific to these populations (e.g., "How is diet affected by acculturation?" or "Is poor childhood nutrition among African-American women linked to premenopausal breast cancer?") may be answered.
Environmental Risk Factor Research
Many ethnic minority populations are at greater risk for a range of environmental exposures (e.g., some forms of radiation or chemicals and pesticides) and infectious diseases (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] and human papillomavirus [HPV] infections) that are known carcinogens or that may be linked with cancer. NCI supports a number of studies that investigate the physical, chemical, and viral causes of cancer and their disproportionate burdens on ethnic minority and medically underserved populations.
DCEG is supporting a study of breast cancer, benign breast disease, and pesticide exposure among a predominantly African-American population in Triana, Alabama, that has been exposed to high levels of the insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in a tributary of the Tennessee River. Mammographic screenings, clinical examinations, and blood chemistries will be provided to the study participants. Other health and health education needs of participants will be identified and provided. The Category I study will evaluate the relationship between serum DDT levels and the risk for breast cancer and breast disease.
NCI, in collaboration with the Indian Health Service, CDC, and the Alaska Area Native Health Service, has funded pilot research exploring associations between breast cancer and elevated levels of organochlorines among Alaska Native women. These women are at increased risk due to diets high in protein and fat from marine sources established as having high concentrations of organochlorines. Components of this Category I study will involve the collection of serum, urine, and adipose tissue samples from Alaska Native women undergoing breast surgery and analysis of samples for organochlorines.
HIV infection now disproportionately affects ethnic minority individuals in the United States. NCI is investigating techniques that can be used to