Adolescent Program

Adolescent Breast Cancer Prevention, Risk Reduction and Education Project

The Adolescent Breast Cancer Prevention, Risk Reduction and Education Project was created to communicate information learned with from research projects with the community. It is a result of community concerns and a desire by MBCW translate research and information in a way that is understandable and accessible.

To create persuasive, developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive breast cancer prevention, risk reduction and educational messages that will motivate young girls living in Marin County to reduce future breast cancer risk by practicing healthy behaviors.

Initial Funding
Funding for the initial creation of the program came from a $10,000 grant from the Marin Breast Cancer Council.

The Need
There is growing evidence that early life events play an important role in the development of breast cancer, and the onset of puberty is thought to be a key event in influencing subsequent breast cancer risk. Adolescence and puberty, when the undifferentiated mammary gland is proliferating rapidly, may be a time when the breast is particularly sensitive to exposures, such as early exposure to tobacco smoke and other environmental carcinogens. Research has suggested that adolescent choices regarding diet, alcohol and exercise can affect later breast cancer risk. Developmentally, adolescence is an appropriate time to focus on creating positive attitudes toward breast self-exam and protective behaviors such as breast feeding after pregnancy.

The program will take place in three steps.

  1. MBCW will conduct a community wide assessment about the current state of health education in Marin County regarding health risk, adolescent health and breast cancer.
  2. MBCW will host a series of focus groups, designed and conducted by a professional, with young girls and mothers to learn where breast cancer fits into the agenda of teenage girls in Marin.
  3. MBCW will conduct an evaluation of other programs around the country to help determine tools and information that may be helpful in Marin.

Community members, including health care providers, public health professionals, youth group representatives, breast cancer advocates, members of parent-teacher organizations, health educators, adolescents, teachers and parents will be involved as advisors in the process of developing, implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of the project.

At the end of the assessment period, MBCW hopes to create a pilot program that can be a model for other communities on how best to communicate with adolescent girls.