January is the month when the competing impulses are to look back and to look forward equally. The look back is the opportunity to once more say thank you for being committed to staying informed about scientific research that provides the evidence to support breast cancer risk reduction efforts. Some risks can't be changed but some can be modified and your ability to make an impact starts right here as you keep yourself informed and educated. This work needs all the ambassadors and advocates possible to raise awareness of what is known and what individuals and communities can do. The work also needs resources, including financial support. However you contribute, you make a difference. Thank you!
Towards the end of 2018 some interesting studies came to ZBC's attention. Two of them aim to add to the efforts to learn about reducing cancer risk and the third is an example of research into the efficacy of education efforts (in this case on the very emotionally difficult topic of helping young women with metastatic breast cancer deal with end of life issues). ZBC is sharing these with you to expand your knowledge.
Body Mass and Cancer
The topic of body mass and cancer comes up in many different forms. Here is a study that sets out to answer the question "What proportion of cancer cases is attributable to excess body weight in each state in the United States?" The answer might surprise you. Hint: it's higher for women than for men but perhaps not as high overall as we may have come to believe.
Anecdotal tales of some doctors urging weight loss as the only or most important aspect of (breast) cancer risk reduction concern us as being either too limited or potentially ineffective. Topics such as chemical, environmental, and workplace hazards are of great concern too. Zero Breast Cancer has long promoted the precautionary principle to encourage everyone to reduce chemical, radiation and pesticide exposures. With respect to lifestyle, healthy activity and a minimally processed whole foods diet are the messages that Zero Breast Cancer shares based on a philosophy of providing positive encouragement to modify risk in achievable ways. This approach is based on best practice in the field of public health messaging.
Chemicals in Cosmetics and their effects on breast tissue
The the non-profit Breast Cancer Over Time was founded by Polly Marshall, a breast cancer survivor. Following a successful pilot study to measure the effects of cosmetic products on 24 healthy women, the California Breast Cancer Research Program has awarded a $972,000 grant of cigarette tax funds for a full study with 60 women over two years.. You can read more background and context in a recent newsletter from Polly here. The research team also includes Dr. Shanaz Dairkee, PhD, Senior Scientist California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Research Institute, and Dr. William Goodson, M.D. Breast Surgeon CPMC. Dr. Goodson is a good friend to ZBC!
Hopefully we can all learn more about these chemicals and take individual and collective action to eliminate those found most likely to be harmful to breast tissue.
Educating young women on how to navigate end of life decisions
A very difficult topic is end of life planning for young women with metastatic breast cancer. Young Survival Coalition (YSC) aimed to improve younger breast cancer survivors' (those diagnosed at the age of 40 or younger) knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding understanding and accessing palliative care as well as deciding and communicating (EOL) wishes by studying the effects of an educational program called "The Shady Pink Elephant: End of Life Education for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer." The results of this study are published in the Journal of Cancer Education. You can read more here. I am sharing this as an example of a study that evaluates an educational campaign for impact on knowledge, beliefs and behaviors.
What's new for ZBC in 2019?
Sharing research, evaluating Zero Breast Cancer's educational campaigns for youth and teens and adding campaigns for survivors and potential parents are some of the new and ongoing areas of focus for 2019. If you know someone who would like to receive this monthly newsletter please send this link so they can sign up.
We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!
Yours in health,
PS Please don't forget its not too early to show your support in 2019! We count on donors like you. Thank you.