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Who is Hook Up for?

Young women in their teens and early twenties because their nutrition, physical activity and drinking habits are changing and they can start taking control of their lifestyle choices.

Who is this Breast Health initiative for?

The Hook Up to Breast Cancer Prevention project involved young women ages 16 20, A similar breast health initiative could be aimed at an audience of young women in their later adolescence and early twenties.

Why address this issue with young women in this age range?

Research is now showing a clear link between lifestyle factors (healthy eating and physical activity and alcohol) and the risk for breast cancer. Research also shows that during the teenage years, girls tend to decrease their involvement in sports and other kinds of physical activity, eat in a less healthy way and begin to experiment with alcohol and binge drinking.

Young women in their later teens do begin to take more responsibility for their choices around eating, physical activity and the use of alcohol. They make these choices in a culture where there are pressures to eat junk food, diet and drink alcohol in social situations. The patterns developed in early adulthood are likely to continue in older years.

If the patterns developed when they are younger involve lower-risk lifestyles, these healthy patterns will likely continue throughout their life. A commitment to a healthy lifestyle helps to reduce risks for breast cancer and it will also help to reduce the risks for a whole range of other diseases.

What about young men?

Young women involved in the Hook Up to Breast Cancer Prevention project consistently asked about the involvement of their male peers in the project. Although men can get breast cancer, the predominance of breast cancer among males is extremely low (less than 1%). The project team felt strongly that with 99% of breast cancer incidences occurring in females, women should be the audience of concern and that women should be the ones to create and deliver their own messages to their peers.

As the campaigns progressed, many young men stepped up to be involved in the activities, and proved to be valuable assets and supports.

Breast cancer and breast health messages do affect males, and increasing their awareness of the issues and providing them with the tools to help the young women they care about is an important adjunct to this breast cancer prevention initiative.

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