Policy Projects

California Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan

BCPP is leading the development of a first-ever, comprehensive Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan for California. With a strong foundation of science and input from many stakeholders, including academics, government regulators, non-profit organizations and impacted communities; we will create a policy agenda to reduce breast cancer risk factors in California.

In advance of the Cancer Plan’s publication in March, “An Expanded Agenda for the Primary Prevention of Breast Cancer: Charting a Course for the Future” is a paper published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health that describes the Cancer Plan, including why the California Breast Cancer Research Program funded the project and how BCPP carried it out.

“The new prevention approach taken by BCPP embraces a more expansive mind frame for prevention and maps a pathway for the future…”.

Full Paper


What is the Primary Prevention Plan?

In the United States, a woman’s risk of breast cancer is one in eight. Yet the majority of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have none of the risk factors most commonly associated with the disease. This begs the question why, while it also raises further questions about how we reduce risk for the disease at the individual, community, and societal levels. While all states have “cancer plans,” these generally focus on early detection, treatment, access to services and some lifestyle issues. The California Primary Prevention Plan seeks to explore the full range of prevention opportunities that can contribute to a statewide effort to reduce the incidence of breast cancer.

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Topics under exploration include individual and environmental exposures to toxic chemicals; exposure to ionizing radiation and other physical factors; structural barriers to a healthy diet and activity levels, such as food deserts and the built environment; workplace exposures and risk factors; impact of alcohol consumption and tobacco use; and the impact of racism and poverty on breast cancer risk.

The project will generate and distribute a California policy agenda and action plan, which BCPP will then work with stakeholders to implement in the coming years with the goal of reducing the incidence of breast cancer in the state. While the focus of this groundbreaking approach will be squarely on breast cancer, the resulting policy action plan will undoubtedly impact numerous other cancers and adverse health impacts; and while the focus will be squarely on California, it will provide a road map for other states to prioritize primary prevention of breast cancer.

Study Groups: Introduction

Access our study group recordings and related resources. Read and watch more

How is the Primary Prevention Plan being developed?

Over the two-year project, BCPP will hold a series of webinar based study groups to:
• explore the strength of the science behind known and suspected risk factors for breast cancer;
• explore potential interventions to address these risk factors;
• identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps in scientific research; and
• work with the broad array of stakeholders to disseminate and implement the plan.

The process will be guided by a multi-stakeholder advisory committee that includes some of California’s leading breast cancer, public health, social and environmental justice and disease prevention experts.

The project will culminate with the creation of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan for California, which will serve as a road map for legislators, local and state regulators, community.

Advisory Committee

Anna Wu, University of Southern California

Caroline Farrell, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

Catherine Dodd, Health Consultant

Catherine Houston, United Steel Workers

Eric Roberts, Public Health Institute

Janette Robinson-Flint, Black Women for Wellness

Laura Stock, Labor Occupational Health Program, UC Berkeley

Lisa Bailey, Breast surgeon and Breast Cancer Program Co-Director, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

Mary White, CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, ex officio

Mhel Kavanaugh-Lynch, California Breast Cancer Research Program, ex officio

Peggy Reynolds, Cancer Prevention Institute of California

Rachel Morello-Frosch, UC Berkeley

Rick Kreutzer, CA Dept of Public Health

Sarah de Guia, CA Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Scarlett Gomez, Cancer Prevention Institute of California and UC San Francisco.

Senaida Poole, California Breast Cancer Research Program, ex officio

Shauntay Davis, CA Dept of Public Health

Ted Schettler, Science & Environmental Health Network


Behind the Science: Ep. 3

Get expert advice and health protective tips from our Science Advisory Panel! Check out Ep. 3 featuring scientist Rachel Morello-Frosch, PhD. Watch. Share. Chip In.

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