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Title: Environmental and lifestyle risk factors of breast cancer in Malta-a retrospective case-control study
Authors: Cauchi, Jean Paul
Camilleri, Liberato
Scerri, Christian
Keywords: Breast -- Cancer -- Malta
Cancer -- Risk factors
Cancer -- Prevention
Issue Date: 2016-09
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Citation: Cauchi, J. P., Camilleri, L., & Scerri, C. (2016). Environmental and lifestyle risk factors of breast cancer in Malta-a retrospective case-control study. EPMA Journal, 7(20), 1-10.
Abstract: AIM AND BACKGROUND: Environmental exposures are known to play a role in the development of cancer, including breast cancer. There are known associations of breast cancer with environmental factors such as sunlight exposure, diet and exercise and alcohol consumption as well as physiological factors. This study examines the prevalence of risk factors for breast cancer related to dietary intake, environment and lifestyle in the female population of Malta. Malta has had little research in this area, and therefore an exploratory study was carried out. METHODS: A retrospective case-control design was applied. Two hundred cases and 403 controls were included. Both cases and controls were subjects without a known family history for breast cancer. Controls were age-matched to cases in an age-decade category roughly at a 2:1 ratio. Interviews were carried out face-to-face using a questionnaire designed by Maltese and Sicilian researchers, encompassing various factors including diet, lifestyle, physiological factors and medical history. Breast cancer risk was then analysed using both univariate and multivariate analyses. For factors having a metric scale, the Mann-Whitney test was used to compare mean scores, while for categorical factors, the chi-square test was used to compare percentages between the case and control groups. Statistical modelling was carried out using binary logistic regression to relate the likelihood of breast cancer to over 50 risk/protective factors analysed collectively. RESULTS: Univariate analysis showed around 20 parameters of interest, 14 of which were statistically significant at a 0.05 level of significance. Logistic regression analysis identified 11 predictors of interest that were statistically significant. Tomato, coffee and canned meat consumption were associated with lower likelihood of breast cancer (OR = 0.988, 0.901, 0.892, respectively), whereas beans and cabbage consumption and low sodium salt were positively associated with breast cancer (OR = 1.045, 1.834, 1.028, respectively). Premenopausal status was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer compared to postmenopausal status (OR = 0.067). Not having experienced myocardial infarction was associated with lower odds of breast cancer (OR = 0.331). Increased height was also found to have a strong association with risk of breast cancer, with the odds of having breast cancer increasing for every centimetre increase in height (OR = 1.048). In terms of quantity, odds of having breast cancer were lower in those exposed to sunlight (OR = 0.891). The odds of having breast cancer were also lower in those not using the oral contraceptive pill (OR = 0.454). CONCLUSIONS: Various factors in this exploratory study were found to be associated with development of breast cancer. While causal conclusions cannot be made, tomato consumption is of particular interest, as these results corroborate findings found in other studies. A negative association of breast cancer with sunlight exposure and oral contraceptive pill use corroborates findings in other studies. Other associations with dietary intake can be explained by dietary changes. More robust studies in this area, including possible longitudinal studies, are warranted.
Description: The funding for this research was obtained as part of IMaGenX – and ItaliaMalta co-financed EU project Operational Programme 2007–2013.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacM&SPB
Scholarly Works - FacSciSOR

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