Potential Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Pakistani Women


Department of Bioinformatics and Biosciences, Capital University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan


Background: Breast cancer is the most common female malignancy worldwide and its incidence is on the rise in Pakistan. The aim of this case-control study was to quantify the association of various risk factors with breast cancer risk among Pakistani women. Materials and Methods: A total of 2,246 women were studied, including 1,238 women with histologically confirmed breast cancer patients and age matched control subjects (N1008) without breast cancer and other chronic diseases. Subjects were interviewed using a specifically designed questionnaire. Unconditional logistic regression was applied. Subsequent disease-specific mortality was also measured. Results: In this study, majority of the breast cancer patients (69.59%) were in age ranges of 40s and 50s. BMI greater than 25kg/m2 (OR1.57; 95%CI, 1.26-1.90 and OR1.60; 95%CI, 1.26-2.03), marital status of unmarried (OR2.03; 95%CI, 1.69-2.44), lack of breast feeding, smoking (current or ever), lack of physical activity and post-menopausal status were found to have significant positive associations with breast cancer. It was also observed that increased parity reduced the disease risk. A larger number of cases (58.1%) had their right breast affected while 22.8% had other complications as well. Conclusions: This exploratory analysis indicated a number of risk factors to be associated with increased risk of breast cancer. It was also observed that mean age at diagnosis is a decade earlier than in western countries. It is hoped that our findings will facilitate establishment of adequate evidence-based awareness and preventive measures for Pakistani women.