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New Study Shows Genetic Trait May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk for Some Hispanic Women

National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

On Fronteras-- Latinas are less likely to develop breast cancer than other ethnic groups. Now researchers think they know why. A new study shows a genetic variant may protect some Hispanic women from developing breast cancer. The largest immigrant detention facility in the country is under construction in South Texas. What’s unusual, though, is how the government bypassed the regular bidding process, giving the contract to a small Arizona town. We’ll also hear about a study of Texas mountain lions, one where researchers had to get permission from private landowners to proceed. And we’ll take a look at how altars are connecting people to those loved and lost, over the Day of the Dead events.  

New Study Shows Genetic Trait May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk for Some Hispanic Women 

Statistics show that Hispanic women get breast cancer at lower rates compared to white and African-American women. Now, a new study led by the University of California, San Francisco, points to a genetic trait that may protect some Latinas from breast cancer. 

Researchers say this genetic variant originates from indigenous Americans and the study indicates that Latinas that inherit the variant are about 40 percent less likely to develop this form of cancer. 

Lindsey Mette is a genetic counselor at the UT Health Science Center, San Antonio. She works with people who have either a personal or family history of cancer. I spoke to her this week to learn more about the significance of the study. 

How Will A Small Town In Arizona Manage An ICE Facility In Texas?

By September this year, the numbers of migrants crossing the Mexico-US border had dropped off dramatically since the high of the summer. But that hasn’t stopped the federal government from forging ahead with building a series of family detention centers in the Southwest. It does seem to want to send a clear message to Central Americans — if you come to the U.S., you will be detained and deported. The largest of these centers, which, as a group, are often under cloud for a variety of reasons, is under construction in South Texas. 

The latest attempt to halt construction on this particular facility is from the Civil Rights and Environmental Law Clinics, and the University of Texas School of Law. They wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency. It states that the DHS hastily approved the facility and failed to assess the environmental and health impacts on detained mothers and children.

Part of that letter points to the local aquifer and air pollution from nearby fracking operations. As NPR’s John Burnett reports, the government also bypassed the normal bidding process, using a small town in Arizona as the contractor for a detention center over 900 miles away in Texas. This story originally aired on Morning Edition on Oct. 28. 

Researchers Work With Private Landowners to Study Texas Mountain Lions 

The mountain lion of Texas is known by many names in the Southwest: cougar, panther, puma ... In California, it’s protected. In Arizona and New Mexico, you can hunt this predator but with strict limitations. In Texas, though, mountain lions can be hunted at will. However, despite all that, they’re clearly survivors, as preliminary results from a four-year-old study suggest the number of Texas mountain lions is stable, and might even be growing. Marfa Public Radio’s Lorne Matalon reports on this unusual study. 

Dia de Los Muertos Altars, Build a Bridge To Those Loved and Lost 

This weekend, people are also celebrating Dia De Los Muertos — the Day of the Dead — to celebrate the lives of those once much loved, and now, long gone. Many communities are having their own festivities. One such is the Muertos Fest at San Antonio’s La Villita. Jesus de la Torre is director of Colectivo Cultural, an organization working to preserve old traditions. He speaks to Fronteras Host, Crystal Chavez, about the true meaning of the holiday and the spirit behind it all.

Crystal Chavez was Texas Public Radio’s Morning Edition host for three years, until January 2015.