Accomplishments 2004

Since our beginning, MBCW has sought out, supported and nurtured relationships with exceptionally talented and dedicated breast cancer researchers. We have played a central role in motivating and sustaining breast cancer research efforts here in Marin County. We have opened new doors by advocating for new research directions and by seeking out new energy, new funding and new resources to address our community's concerns about Marin's historically high rates of breast cancer. Successfully, we have connected local and national breast cancer research to community concerns and have promoted community awareness, education, and public action.

Our goal has been to include those directly and potentially affected by breast cancer throughout the research process. No other breast cancer organization or community agency matches the degree to which MBCW has brought community members and scientists together through educational forums, town meetings, community meetings, mapping workshops, community advisory boards and research studies. Through our newsletter, Keeping Abreast, with a circulation of 4,000, our website and community presentations, we have endeavored to place the results of breast cancer research into the hands of women and the community so that these findings can inform personal and public decision-making processes.

Marin Breast Cancer Watch has made a difference and we expect to continue to make a difference in Marin. Highlights from the past twelve months include:

  • Assuming both a local and national leadership role in the Bay Area Breast Cancer and Environment Center which in collaboration with UCSF and Northern California Kaiser Permanente was established to explore the effects of environmental stressors on the development of the mammary gland and the onset of puberty. The work of this landmark center will lead to a better understanding of breast cancer causes and will identify ways to prevent breast cancer in the next generation.

  • Beginning, in partnership with Northern California Kaiser Permanente, the largest prospective study on Breast Cancer Survivorship in the Bay Area. The study is focusing on lifestyle factors, diet, physical activity, complementary alternative medicine, gene-environmental interactions and their therapeutic role in preventing breast cancer recurrences, increasing survival and enhancing quality of life.

  • Hosting three community forums attended by over 150 community members and researchers from the Bay Area Breast Cancer and Environment Center. Such interactive forums are important in ensuring that researchers hear directly the community's concerns about breast cancer, the environment and health and that the results of research are relevant and immediately accessible to women, their families and their communities.

  • Strengthening our outreach to underserved communities in Marin. Working with community leaders from the Canal and Marin City, we successfully advocated that the Northern California Cancer Center release for the very first time breast cancer incidence trends for all ethnic groups living in Marin. We have consulted and helped write successfully funded grants for two organizations concerned about breast cancer in their own multi-ethnic communities.

  • Sponsoring a conference addressing Critical Issues in Biomonitoring. Nationally renowned speakers presented up-to-date information about the art and science of biomonitoring. The forum provided over 100 scientists and community members from a variety of perspectives and with varying expertise to discuss the scientific, ethical and public policy issues related to biomonitoring.

  • Developing our website, This site allows community members to learn about Marin Breast Cancer Watch, benefit from the educational programs and research studies being conducted in Marin County, read full copies of our newsletter and access information regarding breast cancer resources.

  • Increasing awareness about breast cancer and the role environmental stressors play in the development of breast cancer through interviews and feature stories appearing on CNN Headline news, Channel 4, 5, and 7, T48 Telemundo, Radio Canal, KPFA, and in the Marin Independent Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Marin Scope Newspapers and local Chamber of Commerce Newsletters.

  • Completing a comprehensive assessment of newspaper coverage of breast cancer from 1998-2004 in Marin County, including suggestions to scientists and those who create the news of ways to improve media coverage of breast cancer. The findings were presented at a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Conference on Emerging Topics in Breast Cancer and the Environment and have been shared with local journalists.

  • Publishing Keeping Abreast, our quarterly newsletter, which provides valuable information about breast cancer incidence and mortality trends, information about our research studies and educational programs, and topic issues relating to breast cancer prevention. Keeping Abreast has become an important resource to thousands of community members and health professionals.

  • Conducting a community-wide assessment of Marin adolescent's concerns about breast cancer, including informational preferences of adolescent girls and recommendations from health educators. The assessment resulted in a collaboration with a Marin County school district to develop a single lesson breast cancer awareness education "module" to be delivered through peer educators. This pilot project will evaluate changes in student's knowledge and attitudes about breast cancer and motivation to practice healthy behaviors which may reduce the risk of breast cancer. This innovative educational approach, if successful, will be transported to other local high schools and has the potential to serve as an effective youth educational model for other communities concerned about breast cancer incidence and prevention.

We rely on your support.

For more information:
Marin Breast Cancer Watch
25 Bellam Blvd. Ste. 115
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 256-9011

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