Breastcancer.org Talks to Teens

A new book by the founder of Breastcancer.org—the #1 online resource for breast health and breast cancer information—and her teenage daughter addresses one of the most confusing and often fearful topics in a girl’s life: her breast development and breast health. In Taking Care of Your “Girls,” acclaimed breast oncologist Marisa Weiss and her daughter Isabel Friedman cut through all the myths and unreliable information about breasts and breast development. They reveal the real risks and steps girls can take to reduce their risk of getting breast cancer.

“Breastcancer.org is pioneering this effort through a series of initiatives aimed at girls in particular,” says Dr. Weiss. “We want to reach young women at that critical age when they have so many questions and yet are bombarded with excess, irrelevant, or incorrect information.

She goes on to say, “Girls are surrounded by breast cancer messaging geared to adults, but they lack reliable information geared just for them. As a result, we felt compelled to step up and take the leadership position in this area. Our outreach efforts are driven by groundbreaking research and include school programs and an awareness campaign about the environmental influences on breast health.”

The foundation of the book is two-and-a-half years of research that Dr. Weiss and Breastcancer.org conducted with more than 3,000 girls (ages 8-18) and mothers all across the US. As a woman, doctor, and mother, Dr. Weiss knew that the girls she spoke with would have a lot of questions about breast health and development, but she was struck by many of the findings, including:

  • More than 25 percent of girls have perceived a normal change in their breasts to be a symptom of breast cancer.
  • More than 20 percent of girls think breast cancer is caused in part by infection, tanning, drug use, stress, and breast injury or bruising.
  • Nearly 75 percent of girls have someone close to them who has had breast cancer.
  • Most girls are worried that someone in their family might get breast cancer.
  • Few girls know how to reduce their risk of breast cancer.

In response to their findings, Dr. Weiss and her daughter set out to separate the myths from the facts, and offer both medical and motherly advice as well as a peer-to-peer perspective. They answer some of the most compelling questions that girls have about their changing bodies, from: “Is there a perfect, correct, or average breast size?” to “Is it safe to use antiperspirants and cell phones?

Other organizations have joined ranks with Breastcancer.org to support this Prevention Initiative, including Comcast who, with Dr. Weiss, created video-on-demand (VOD) segments for the Comcast Pink Ribbon campaign to air this fall during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“What we want to achieve with this book, and other awareness initiatives, such as our mother-daughter school assemblies, is an earlier dialogue with our girls about this critically important health concern.”

To find out more, please visit www.breastcancer.org/about_us/press_room/prevention.jsp.