Sisters Network Inc. (“SNI”), the only national African-American breast cancer survivorship organization, has launched TEENS 4 PINK, a new program that aims to educate and empower African-American teens to change the way their family members think and act about breast health.
The program, sponsored by Eisai Inc., is being piloted in Houston, TX and Memphis, TN, two cities where African-American women with breast cancer face some of the highest mortality rates in the country.
Governed by an elected Board of Directors and assisted by an appointed medical advisory committee, membership in SNI includes over 3,000 participants, and also includes more than 40 survivor-run affiliate chapters nationwide. The organization’s purpose is to save lives and provide a broader scope of knowledge that addresses the breast cancer survivorship crisis affecting African-American women around the country.
While African-American women have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than Caucasian women, they are more likely to die from the disease. Studies suggest a variety of reasons for these long-standing disparities, including more advanced disease at the time of diagnosis and a longer time between diagnosis and the start of treatment.
Through participation in the program, teens are provided with the knowledge and tools they need to start a dialogue with their loved ones about breast cancer, driving the importance of early detection and urging annual check-ups and mammograms. Teens that participate in Teens 4 Pink will become ‘Pink Ambassadors‘ and work to educate their family members and loved ones about breast health. This includes a free downloadable Family Tree template to track and keep up with your family’s healthcare and any issues.
As noted on the Teens 4 Pink website, it is recommended for African-American women to do monthly breast self-exams starting at age 20 and get a yearly mammogram, beginning at age 35. In fact, four out of 10 breast cancer cases are detected by women who and a lump through a breast self-exam. A woman with one close female relative living with breast cancer has almost twice the risk of a woman without a family history. If she has more than one immediate family relative, her risk is about three to four times higher.