Although women Asian women in Asia have the lowest rates of breast cancer in the world, Asian women living in the U.S. have the same risk as white women. Regina Zeigler of the National Cancer Institute led a 1993 study on Asians and breast cancer and said Asian women coming to the U.S. are likely to give up a healthy diet for American processed foods, to exercise less and to undergo more stress integrating into a new culture. Thus, their chances of getting breast cancer increase by over 80 percent within the first decade they live in the U.S.
Language barriers and cultural taboos about self exams also keep the women from getting help or becoming aware a problem. The American Cancer Society in San Francisco serves a large Asian population and has produced videos in four Asian languages and English using Asian models to instruct women on self-exam procedures. The city’s Department of Health publishes literature in several dialects and is fully bilingual. There are also many breast cancer support groups in the city geared toward Chinese women.