Sisters Network®Inc., the only national African American breast cancer survivorship organization with affiliate chapters across the country, announced today the expansion of the Teens4Pink program to Atlanta, GA and Richmond, VA. Teens4Pink goals are to educate and empower African American teens between the ages of 12-17 with the knowledge and tools they need to start a dialogue with their blood family members about breast health and cancer. In using this approach it will drive home the importance of early detection and urging annual check-ups, mammograms and ultra sounds. Launched in 2013, the program, sponsored by Eisai Inc., was 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.
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 have suggested 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.
Teens participating in Teens4Pink become ‘Pink Ambassadors’ and work to educate their family members and loved ones about breast health. The program consists of in-person educational training sessions where teens learn about various topics related to breast health, including how regular screening can detect breast cancer early on and lead to better outcomes. Teens are then asked to interview their female blood relatives and encourage them to take action to address their own breast health. Data is collected before and after each session to examine how well information is retained by teens, and to track the results of family intervention.
“The response to Teens4Pink from teens, schools, churches and community organizations has been so positive that we have exceeded our goal of reaching 1,000 girls to be trained as Pink Ambassadors,” said Karen Eubanks Jackson, founder and CEO, Sisters Network Inc. “Our goal is not only to engage, educate and empower teens, but to also provide them a proactive platform to make a difference in their family and their community. We look forward to Teens4Pink making an impact in Atlanta and Richmond and continuing to expand to more cities in the future.”
“Eisai Inc. is proud to sponsor the Teens4Pink initiative to help address the documented health disparities that exist for women living with breast cancer in the African American community,” said David Trexler, Senior Vice President, Oncology Business Unit, Eisai Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Board member, Sisters Network Inc. “By tapping into the energy and tenacity of teens, this program seeks to create sustainable change across the African American community, one family at a time.”
In addition to the local sessions, Sisters Network encourages teens nationwide to get involved by visiting www.Teens4Pink.org, an interactive website for teens where they can find the information and resources they need to start a dialogue about breast health with their family.