||5R01CA072457-05 Interpret this number
||Mount Sinai School Of Medicine
||Familial Cancer Risk-Stress Induced Consequences
DESCRIPTION: A family history of breast cancer is the single best predictor
of a health woman's risk of developing the disease. The long term objective
of the proposed research is to investigate two possible pathways by which
stress associated with this familial threat of breast cancer could further
increase the health risks of these women: 1) Psychological factors (e.g.,
distress) may influence biological processes that play important roles in
health and disease; 2) Fear and distress about breast cancer may influence
women's decisions to engage in screening behaviors (e.g., mammography) that
permit early detection and increase the likelihood of curative treatment.
In addition, the project seeks to investigate the possibility that the
consequences of stress associated with having a positive family history may
be stronger in African American women, for whom the fear of developing
breast cancer may be especially high.
The proposed project has three aims. The first is to investigate the
lasting psychological, biological, and behavioral consequences of having a
family history of breast cancer. A naturalistic longitudinal study is
proposed, in which 100 health women with family histories of breast cancer
(Risk Group) and 100 with no cancer in first degree relatives (Comparison
Group) will be assessed on three separate days approximately a month apart.
Half of the women in each group will be African American and half will be
Specific Aim 2 is to examine psychological and biological reactions to
exposure to cues associated with the threat of breast cancer. An
experimental study is proposed, in which 80 health women from each of the
Groups in Study One will undergo assessments of psychological,
cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and immune variables before and after
exposure to breast-cancer specific cues. Again, half of the women in each
Group will be African American and half white.
Specific Aim 3 is to explore the impact of women's negative emotional
reactions to the threat of breast cancer screening guidelines. The data
from the naturalistic and experimental studies will be combined to
investigate the possibility that strong stress reactions to the threat of
cancer may inhibit breast cancer screening behaviors.