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Image by Louis Reed

Mechanisms for Established and Novel Risk Factors of Breast Cancer in Women of African Descent (MEND)

The purpose of the MEND study is to better understand the individual, socio-economic, reproductive, lifestyle, molecular and genetic risk factors for breast cancer and breast cancer outcomes among African Women. 

By recruiting newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in Nigeria, we hope to shed light on risk factors and inform targeted prevention strategies aimed at reducing the prevalence of breast cancer in African women. 

 The specific aims of this research project are to: 

1. Recruit newly diagnosed breast cancer patients across Nigeria

2. Examine both the epigenetic and genetic features of breast tumors among African women to see if they predict tumor aggressiveness, prognosis and survival 

3. Examine molecular features of African Breast cancer patients

4. Examine the impact of traditional breast cancer risk factors (including obesity, parity, breastfeeding, etc.) on tumor aggressiveness, prognosis and survival 

Biological Basis of Cancer Disparities: Video
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MEND Schema

The figure shows the schema of our MEND Study. First, we obtain informed consent from our research participants. We then give the participants a questionnaire which asks them questions about their demographics, reproductive history, risk factors, and mental health. We then obtain biomarkers and blood, saliva, and breast cancer biopsy samples. We conduct an extensive medical record review to better understand their disease, treatment, and pathology with follow-up interviews to determine outcomes. 

Biological Basis of Cancer Disparities: Image
Image by Yao

Breast cancer on the African continent, and in Nigeria especially, is notable for being biologically distinct from those predominantly diagnosed among White populations in the United States and Europe, where most scientific research has occurred to date.

Dr. Tomi Akinyemiju at Duke University School of Medicine examines the factors that contribute to especially aggressive breast cancers in Nigeria – providing insights that could meaningfully impact disease prevention and treatment.

Read the original paper HERE

Listen to the podcast HERE

Biological Basis of Cancer Disparities: Video
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