Beliefs and behaviors about breast cancer recurrence risk reduction among African American breast cancer survivors

Benjamin Ansa, Wonsuk Yoo, Mary Whitehead, Steven Coughlin, Selina Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A growing body of evidence suggests that breast cancer recurrence risk is linked to lifestyle behaviors. This study examined correlations between breast cancer recurrence, risk reduction beliefs, and related behaviors among African American breast cancer survivors (AA BCSs). Study participants included 191 AA BCSs, mean age = 56.3 years, who completed a lifestyle assessment tool. Most respondents believed that being overweight (52.7%), lack of physical activity (48.7%), and a high fat diet (63.2%) are associated with breast cancer recurrence. Over 65% considered themselves overweight; one third (33.5%) agreed that losing weight could prevent recurrence, 33.0% disagreed, while the remaining 33.5% did not know; and nearly half (47.9%) believed that recurrence could be prevented by increasing physical activity. Almost 90% survivors with BMI < 25 Kg/M2 reported no recurrence compared to 75.7% with BMI ≥ 25 Kg/M2 (p = 0.06); nearly all of the women (99.2%) answered “yes” to seeking professional help to lose weight, 79.7% of which were recurrence-free (p = 0.05). These results provide information about AA BCSs’ beliefs and behaviors protective against breast cancer recurrence. Additional research is warranted to determine the effectiveness of educational interventions for AA BCSs that promote consumption of a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 23 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • African Americans
  • Body weight
  • Breast cancer
  • Diet
  • Physical activity
  • Recurrence
  • Risk factors
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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