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J Cancer Educ. 2019 Jun 21. doi: 10.1007/s13187-019-01563-w. [Epub ahead of print]

The Mouse Mammary Gland: a Tool to Inform Adolescents About Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, 171C Goessmann, 686 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA, 01003, USA. lvandenberg@schoolph.umass.edu.
2
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, 171C Goessmann, 686 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA, 01003, USA.
3
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA.

Abstract

Adolescence is a vulnerable period of breast development, and environmental chemical exposures that occur during this period can increase the risk of breast cancer in adulthood. Discussing breast health with adolescent girls can be difficult for several reasons. In this project, we worked to not only inform adolescent researchers about environmental risks for breast cancer but to also involve them in research studies. We taught adolescents about the stages of mammary gland development using samples collected from mice, with a specific focus on pre-pubertal and pubertal stages of development. Our analysis shows that adolescent researchers, with relatively modest training, can collect reliable and reproducible data on aspects of mammary gland biology that are known to be disrupted by environmental chemicals, with coefficients of variation <‚ÄČ2.5% for basic mammary gland parameters and 5-7% for more complex measures. Finally, we provided these adolescents with information about environmental risk factors for breast cancer that they could share with their peers and community and action items to potentially modify their individual risk. We hope that researchers working in this field will engage adolescent researchers in projects to evaluate chemicals that influence breast cancer risk. Summer research programs that inform young adolescents about breast cancer risk factors not only benefit these novice researchers individually but also benefit their communities when they are encouraged to talk about the value of basic science studies, discuss vulnerable periods of mammary gland development, and share what they have learned about cancer and the environment.

KEYWORDS:

Accuracy; BCERP; Precision; Puberty; Whole mount; Window of susceptibility

PMID:
31227995
DOI:
10.1007/s13187-019-01563-w

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