Lianna Hartmour stands next to a wheel that has questions about breast cancer on it. Four students participate in answering the question.

Did you know that teens’ actions impact lifelong health and wellness? Puberty is a particularly important time for either increasing or decreasing lifetime breast cancer risk. Breast development can continue into the early 20s, making high school students’ actions particularly significant.

At Zero Breast Cancer, we have found that teens of all genders are interested in learning more about the actions they can take today to reduce their risk of breast cancer later in life. Many teens know someone who has had breast cancer. Others are considering careers in medicine or allied fields. They are also at an age where they begin to take greater responsibility for their own health and make more decisions about how to spend their time, what to eat, and what they buy.

Lunchtime interactions

ZBC engages local teens at high schools during their lunchtime. We set up our table, spinning wheel, brochures and prizes in an area heavily populated as students walk by on their way to lunch. Our spinning wheel has questions that prompt discussion about breast cancer risk reduction. Each student answers a question, learns about the correct answer and gets a prize for participating. They also walk away with a hand-out that includes ways they can reduce their risk of breast cancer.

Two of the biggest points we want them to learn is that there are things that can be done to reduce breast cancer risk and that what a person does when younger impacts their breast cancer risk later in life.
Although students only hear the answers to questions the spinner lands on for them and others immediately next to them in line, the information can prompt discussions between students. At nearby tables, we commonly overhear students sharing what they have learned, thereby spreading the knowledge throughout the school.

Given our table has a steady stream of students, we cannot always count the number that come by. However, at a recent visit to Redwood High where the flow of students felt typical for other schools, we counted interactions with over 70 students!


ZBC gets invited to local schools by science teachers and student clubs to give the presentation “How to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk Now!” which is based in our 13 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer campaign. 

The presentation covers cancer basics, why teens’ actions matter and specific actions teens can take. These actions include behaviors like exercising, eating healthy, not smoking or vaping, and limiting exposure to certain chemicals. We also share popular apps (that students can download to help them choose safer products and foods: EWG’s Healthy Living and Think Dirty.

“Thank you so much for coming, it was really interesting! I even downloaded the apps and have been having fun with them. Everyone enjoyed having such a new and exciting presentation[, which was different] from the normal boring ones.” –High school student club president


We also send our breast cancer risk reduction materials to schools across the U.S. We have posters and brochures that are part of our 13 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer campaign in both Spanish and English.

Do you know a school or other organization serving teens that would share our materials? Please share this form!


Written by Lianna Hartmour, ZBC Program Director

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