Breast Cancer

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Justine Shapiro
I am a Jewish woman from a family with a number of relatives who carry a genetic mutation known as BRCA. My maternal and paternal grandparents and great grandparents were born in Lithuania and Latvia, a part of the world where BRCA is prevalent in certain ethnic groups. People with BRCA are at significantly greater risk for certain cancers, most notably, breast and ovarian cancer.

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the fourth most common cause of death from cancer.

Much progress has been made in understanding the causes of breast cancer, but few options for prevention at the population level exist. Early detection by mammography has proven to lower mortality, especially for women over 50 years, but not all women access screening services equally. Work is still needed to decrease disparities among lower socioeconomic status women. 

Individualized screening for breast cancer along with individual assessments of cancer risk is one promising area. Other efforts focus on disadvantaged populations and breast cancer screening. In San Francisco, there remains disparities in rates of screening, stage of diagnosis, and breast cancer survival by race, socioeconomic status, and neighborhood. As such, the goal of the Breast Cancer Task Force is to reduce the burden of breast cancer in San Francisco among specific subgroups experiencing disparities.

Our aims are to create a platform through which resources and information about breast cancer could be widely disseminated for the general public. Additionally, we hope to promote use of screening services through the establishment of a teen education program. In parallel with efforts to increasing screening in populations that are currently experiencing disparities in our city, the WISDOM trial incorporates a risk-based approach to preventive care. 




SF CAN Actions




  • UCSF
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center



Task Force Recommendations:



Goal: Increase breast cancer screening awareness among women in diverse communities of San Francisco.

Method: SF Teens for Screens: A Teen-Based Education and Dissemination Program to leverage the role that adolescents play within their own families and communities. The goal of this pilot program is to assess the effectiveness of a teen-based education program to increase awareness about breast cancer and increase mammography rates in San Francisco.

Teens for Screens SF Teen Educators for Breast Cancer Prevention




Goal: Increase awareness about breast health programs and resources available in San Francisco

Method: Establish a resource site to connect programs and services in the city of San Francisco and promote usage among SF residents.



Goal: To advance modern risk based breast screening for all women in San Francisco with precision medicine approaches

Method: Through enhanced recruitment efforts engage diverse women in San Francisco in the WISDOM Trial

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