$2.2M To Educate Young Breast Cancer Survivors

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A $2.2 million social media campaign will educate and support young breast cancer survivors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, according to LSU Health New Orleans.

         The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the medical school's School of Public Health a five-year grant to lead a coalition developing the campaign. Other members are the Mary Bird Cancer Center, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Nursing.

         The goal is helping young breast cancer survivors get the services they need, says a news release.

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         Younger women tendency to have more aggressive disease, and many must deal at the same time with working and developing careers or going to school, maintaining relationships and raising young families.

         Information will include family history and genetic risks, psychosocial health and support, reproductive health and fertility, family support, and health monitoring. The campaign also will cover ways to reduce risk, such as keeping a healthy weight, reducing tobacco use and reducing excessive alcohol use.

         According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 11 percent of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are in women younger than 45 years of age. From 2007 through 2011, there were nearly 4,400 such cases across the three central Gulf states. Forty percent of cases were in African American women.

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         While breast cancer diagnosis and treatment are difficult for women of any age, young survivors may find it overwhelming, LSU says.

         Three years ago, the School of Public Health and the cancer center created an online program called SurviveDat. LSU says the three-state coalition will build on that.

         Each state will develop local resource lists and events. LSU Health New Orleans will put information designed for everyone out in all three states.

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