Patricia Olaya Contreras, R.N., MS.c.

Patricia Olaya Contreras, an RN and Master in Science in reproductive health by training, is currently a nurse in the Stroke Unit of Västra Gotland Regionen in Gothenborg, Sweden. She worked as a reporductive health epidemiologist for Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health from 1994-1996. Ms. Olaya Contreras was awarded the Irving J. Selikoff Scholarship in 1997 to support her research on nutrition and breast cancer. She worked with Janinie Bernstein, PhD while at Mount Sinai. Ms. Olaya Contreras’ additional research interests include environmental exposure and its effects on women of reproductive age and relation to the development of genital cancer in men and women, and the development of environmental and exposure biomarkers.

Institutional Affiliation

Stroke Unit of Västra Gotland Regionen

Mailing Address

Studiegången 16, 252
ZC 41681

E-mail Address

Irving J. Selikoff Scholarship Project

Nutritional factors and breast cancer in Colombian women

Breast cancer incidence has increased specially in young women. As of 1990, breast cancer was already the second leading cause of death among Colombian women. Recent research suggests that consumption of phytoestrogens could be protective against breast cancer. Phytoestrogens, found in high concentrations in a variety of foodstuffs, have antioxidant and anti-proliferative properties and antihormonal activity.

We carried out a hospital based case-control study in Bogotá, Colombia. Incident cases included 165 newly diagnosed and histologically confirmed breast cancer patients (26-73 years). An age-matched control without cancer was selected for each case. Socio-economic status and reproductive factors were considered. Dietary information was obtained through the use of a semi quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Statistical analyses were performed through multivariate conditional logistic regression methods adjusted for total energy and known reproductive risk and protective factors.

We found a negative monotonic gradient of risk associated with increasing consumption of apple, mango, lettuce, squash, and spinach (p for trend =0.05). Increased risk for breast cancer was associated with higher daily intakes of alcohol (OR=6.94 95% CI= 3.0-18.0) and red meat (OR=3.37 95%CI= 1.50-7.60). A strong decrease in risk was observed for PUFA (OR=0.04 95%CI= 0.01-0.15) and fiber consumption (OR=0.37 95%CI= 0.15-0.90). In short, polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E, retinol, carotene and folate consumption remained significantly and inversely related to breast cancer risk after adjustment for energy intake and other non-dietary potential confounding factors. The greatest risk for breast cancer was found among women who consumed higher amounts of meat, lard and alcohol.

This study suggest that the recommendation of increasing daily consumption of phytoestrogens in fruits, legumes, vegetables and fiber to help prevent breast cancer is an important public health concern.

Partial Bibliography

Nutritional factors and breast cancer in Colombian women. Olaya-Contreras P, González-De Cossio T, Bernstein J, López-Carrillo L, Fernández-Ortega C. International Council on Women´s Health Issues “10th International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women´s Health Issues. Indiana University, May 1998.

Factores nutricionales y cancer de mama, en la region central de Colombia. Olaya-Contreras P, González-De Cossio T, Bernstein J, López-Carrillo L, Fernández-Ortega C. Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica de Mexico, VIII International Congress 1999.

Ortiz E, Alemán E, Olaya P. Personal exposure to benzene, toluene, xylen in different microenviroments in Mexico. Sci Total Enviromental. 2002 Mar. 27;287(3): 241-8.

Olaya-Contreras P, Buekens P, Lazcano-Ponce E, Villamil-Rodriguez J. Reproductive factors associated to breast cancer in Colombian women. Revista de Saúde Pública (Journal of Public Health) vol.33(3), 1999.

Olaya-Contreras P, Villamil-Rodriguez J, Posso-Valencia HJ, Cortéz JE. Organochlorine exposure and breast cancer in Colombia. Cad. Saúde Pública, Rio de Janeiro, 14(Sup.3):125-132, 1998.