Eliminating cancer health disparities remains a high priority of the National Cancer Institute, and one of the most promising avenues for reducing the burden of cancer. Our nation's investment in cancer research has contributed to many breakthroughs in our knowledge of biomedical and behavioral risk factors. However, to effectively intervene on these risk factors, we must also understand the social contexts within which individual risks are developed and lead to persistent cancer health disparities. My goal in seeking this career development award is to become an independent researcher in the field of cancer health disparities, with a focus on multilevel research and intervention in racial/ethnic minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. To leverage my existing training in social science research and cancer epidemiology, I propose additional training in applied intermediate marker and biomarker research, cancer prevention and control, community-engaged intervention research, and advanced statistical methods. An experienced interdisciplinary team of mentors will provide the necessary and complementary expertise and mentorship. My proposed research will examine the associations of social network characteristics (social integration, social support) and the metabolic syndrome (clustering of high blood glucose level, dyslipidemia, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity) with breast cancer risk and with mammographic breast density, a strong biomarker of breast cancer risk. I will investigate these aims in two separate study populations of Hispanic, African American, and White women, recruited from a socioeconomically disadvantaged community in New York City. I will build on extensive interview, clinical and biomarker data already available for these studies by obtaining the following data: neighborhood social environment (from U.S. Census data and previously constructed built environment data), breast density (measured from routine mammograms using validated computer-assisted methods) and breast cancer diagnosis (through review of medical and pathology records). Based on these results and in partnership with community representatives, I will conduct formative qualitative and quantitative research to guide the development of multilevel intervention strategies for breast cancer risk reduction. Together, these research activities will increase my understanding of the social environment characteristics, mediating behavioral factors, and biological pathways associated with breast cancer risk and increase my skills in community-engaged research and intervention development. Ultimately, this program of research will be applied to prevention of breast cancer risk through community-based interventions in low socioeconomic, racial/ethnic minority communities.

Public Health Relevance

This research addresses social, behavioral and biological determinants of breast cancer risk and mammographic breast density in Hispanic, African American and White women of lower socioeconomic status. The results will have high translational potential for reducing breast cancer disparities by identifying individual and contextual level targets for multilevel community-based intervention efforts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
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Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Program Officer
Perkins, Susan N
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
New York
United States
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Athilat, Shweta; Joe, Cynthia; Rodriguez, Carmen B et al. (2018) Childhood body size and midlife mammographic breast density in foreign-born and U.S.-born women in New York City. Ann Epidemiol 28:710-716
Tehranifar, Parisa; Wu, Hui-Chen; McDonald, Jasmine A et al. (2018) Maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy and offspring DNA methylation in midlife. Epigenetics 13:129-134
April-Sanders, Ayana; Oskar, Sabine; Shelton, Rachel C et al. (2017) Predictors of Breast Cancer Worry in a Hispanic and Predominantly Immigrant Mammography Screening Population. Womens Health Issues 27:237-244
Tehranifar, Parisa; Cohn, Barbara A; Flom, Julie D et al. (2017) Early life socioeconomic environment and mammographic breast density. BMC Cancer 17:41
Tehranifar, Parisa; Goyal, Abhishek; Phelan, Jo C et al. (2016) Age at cancer diagnosis, amenability to medical interventions, and racial/ethnic disparities in cancer mortality. Cancer Causes Control 27:553-60
Tehranifar, Parisa; Wu, Hui-Chen; Shriver, Tom et al. (2015) Validation of family cancer history data in high-risk families: the influence of cancer site, ethnicity, kinship degree, and multiple family reporters. Am J Epidemiol 181:204-12
Tehranifar, Parisa; Protacio, Angeline; Schmitt, Karen M et al. (2015) The metabolic syndrome and mammographic breast density in a racially diverse and predominantly immigrant sample of women. Cancer Causes Control 26:1393-403
Akinyemiju, Tomi F; Genkinger, Jeanine M; Farhat, Maggie et al. (2015) Residential environment and breast cancer incidence and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cancer 15:191
Quandt, Zoe; Flom, Julie D; Tehranifar, Parisa et al. (2015) The association of alcohol consumption with mammographic density in a multiethnic urban population. BMC Cancer 15:1094
Tawfik, Hebatullah; Kline, Jennie; Jacobson, Judith et al. (2015) Life course exposure to smoke and early menopause and menopausal transition. Menopause 22:1076-83

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