Women's Circle of Health Study

The Women's Circle of Health Study (WCHS) was first funded as part of a Center of Excellence for Biobehavioral Research by the US Army Medical Command Breast Cancer Research Program. We later obtained funding from NCI (R01 CA100598) to increase the sample size and to add complementary accrual of EA cases and controls. Initially, cases and controls were ascertained from the New York boroughs (Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens) by contacts with hospitals within the largest catchment areas for AA patients, but we later expanded to include all cases diagnosed within 7 counties in eastern NJ as well.  Study recruitment is currently ongoing in NJ only. AA and EA women who speak English, are 20 to 75 years of age, have no prior history of cancer other than non-melanoma skin cancer, and are newly diagnosed with primary, histologically confirmed invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ are eligible to be cases. In the population-based study in eastern NJ, cases are identified at all hospitals in the targeted counties through rapid case ascertainment by the NJ Cancer Registry, which is an NCI-funded Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry, and are contacted and informed of the study by Registry personnel. Controls (< 65 years) are identified through random digit dialing, using a modified Waksberg method, and are frequency-matched to cases on race and 5-year age groups. Cases older than 65 are enrolled to allow case-case comparisons, but controls over 65 years are not included due to the poor participation rates among an older population. Upon consent, participants are interviewed in their homes or a mutually agreeable place. The extensive interview collects data on a number of reproductive and lifestyle characteristics, including lifetime physical activity and medical and family histories; a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) is also administered. Weight, standing height, and waist and hip circumferences are measured. Body composition (lean and fat mass) is measured using a bioelectrical impedance analysis (Tanita) scale. Initially, blood specimens were collected, but due to fiscal constraints, we now collect saliva using Oragene kits, which provides a high yield of high quantity DNA. Provision of a biosample for DNA extraction is a condition of participation in the study; thus, samples have been collected from 100% of participants. The study methodology is described in detail in a recent paper. Among cases in NY, equal proportions of AA and EA women agreed to participate in the study (75%) and were interviewed with a biologic specimen collected. In NJ, the participation rate for EA cases women is 68%, and 54% for AA women. Of the women who are first contacted by the NJ Cancer Registry and agree to be contacted by an interviewer (60%), 90% subsequently enrolled in the study. The NJ Cancer Registry has recently moved to the Cancer Institute of NJ, and Dr. Bandera, Co-Investigator on the P01 and Co-PI on the WCHS, has direct day-to-day involvement in the processes involved in obtaining patient consent. Thus, we expect that this will result in an increase in initial consent rates. Funding for the WCHS ended in 2010, at which time we enrolled over 900 AA cases and an equal number of controls. Extending to two additional counties, and conservatively estimating that 55% of patients will participate, we estimate that we will enroll at least 250 additional AA women with breast cancer per year, for a total of 1900 cases at the end of year 4 of this Program Project.

For more information about the Women's Circle of Health Study, click the link below: http://cinj.org/research/about-womens-circle-health-study