Addressing root causes and preventing breast cancer: a new toolkit and breast cancer action

October 28, 2021 @ 10:00am (AKDT)

Dr. Samarys Seguinot-Medina and Sarah Petras, MPH joined the Alaska Collaborative on Health and the Environment during Breast Cancer Awareness Month for a presentation about a new Environmental Links to Breast Cancer Toolkit designed by Alaska Community Action on Toxics and a presentation by Jayla Burton, MPH, MS, from Breast Cancer Action on the root causes of breast cancer, BCA’s emphasis on prevention, and their Think Before You Pink campaign. 

‘The Environmental Links to Breast Cancer Toolkit was designed for the Alaska Community Health Aides Program (CHAP) in order to train Community Health Aides/Practitioners (CHA/Ps), other health care professionals, and the people of Alaska about environmental contaminants found in the North and Arctic regions that are linked to breast cancer. The toolkit includes facts about cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting chemicals that contaminate the traditional foods, air, water and land of Alaska Native peoples, as well as household and personal care items. It also explores the effects of these chemicals on human health, offers guidance on how to reduce exposure, and provides an environmental health assessment tool to help in identifying patients’ exposures. The toolkit has an overall focus on prevention of cancer and also suggests ways to support those living with breast cancer.’ A special thanks to the Alaska Run for Women and other funders whose generous support helps make efforts like the Environmental Links to Breast Cancer Toolkit possible. 

Breast Cancer Action recognizes that the increasing majority of breast cancer cases can’t be explained by genetics, diet or reproductive history. In contrast, there is an increasing correlation between incidence of breast cancer and environmental contaminants such as exposure to cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in clothing, furniture, pots and pans, food packaging, cleaning supplies, and personal care products. Acknowledging the involuntary, unequal, and far too frequent exposure to cancer-causing environmental contaminants, BCA works to increase individual and community awareness of these issues and advocates for large-scale systemic changes to policy and chemical regulations to be based upon the precautionary principle and prioritize human health.  

ACAT’s breast cancer prevention work is supported by the generous and ongoing support of the Alaska Run For Women.

Breast Cancer, Chemicals and Environmental Justice – a 2020 Op-Ed by Dr. Seguinot-Medina  

Breast Cancer Action 

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment. The Ecology of Breast Cancer

Silent Spring Institute. Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Reviews

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 

Alaska Community Health Aides Program (CHAP) 

Alaska Run For Women

I Will Fight Until I Melt – video of Annie Alowa’s story

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition. List of Chemicals of Concern

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment and Screening in Average Risk Women (2017)

The National Observer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month deserves action, not blah blah blah

Featured speakers

Dr. Samarys Seguinot Medina (Sama) has been ACAT’s Environmental Health Program Director for the last 10 years. Most of her work has been leading community-based participatory research in remote areas of Alaska, mainly in the Norton Sound region. She has a Dr.PH (Doctor in Public Health) from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus in San Juan (SJ) and a master’s degree in Environmental Risk Assessment and Planning from Universidad Metropolitana (Metropolitan University) in SJ, Puerto Rico.    [email protected]
Sarah B. Petras, MPH, is an environmental health researcher and program manager based in the Netherlands. As a former staff member at Alaska Community Action on Toxics, she worked on community-based participatory research projects, biomonitoring, advocating for cleanup of contaminated sites, and engaging health care professionals in environmental health policy reform. She has also worked on state and federal chemicals policy reform campaigns and coordinated environmental health programs for the State of Oregon. Sarah has a Master of Public Health degree from Portland State University in Health Education and Health Promotion.  
Jayla Burton, MPH, MS, is the Program Manager at Breast Cancer Action, where they run BCA’s national campaigns and promote policy and advocacy education. Jayla has dual Masters Degrees in Public Health and Behavioral Health Science from the University of San Francisco and has worked in Global Health, Women’s Health, Behavioral Health, and Harm Reduction.   [email protected]

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