Among Caucasians, Scandinavians Most Prone to Breast Cancer

Mayo Clinic researchers have conducted a study that compared the risks of breast cancer in various Caucasian nationalities. Results showed that women of Scandinavian descent had the highest risk of developing breast cancer, and women of Irish descent had the lowest.

The study examined post-menopausal women in the state of Iowa and found that risk of breast cancer was a whopping 40% higher among women of Scandinavian descent than among women of Irish descent. Among the 100,000 Caucasian women diagnosed with breast cancer annually, 353 were of Irish heritage, while 488 were of Norwegian or Swedish descent. The Scandinavian women’s risk was a full 40% higher.

In a related finding regarding the impact of a family history of breast cancer on a woman’s individual risk for the disease, researchers found that there was little correlation between family history of the disease and breast cancer development for women of both Irish and Scandinavian descent. Women of English, Scottish, Welsh, Dutch, and German descendants were much more likely to show a strong association between family history of breast cancer and individual breast cancer risk.

The author of the report, Thomas Sellers, said, “Previous studies have grouped all Caucasians together when studying breast cancer risk, but this study suggests that risks vary among Caucasians.”


Reuters - July 14, 1999

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