Breast cancer

Approximately 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States. Over 40,000 women die from breast cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. [Source: National Cancer Institute]

Community outreach

Women reinforce what they learn with a game of Reduce Breast Cancer BingoThe COEC continues to offer Breast Cancer: Understanding Risk and How to Reduce It across North Carolina. This well-received, interactive workshop — developed in partnership with the North Carolina Breast Cancer Coalition and the University of Cincinnati through a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — helps participants understand the complex risk factors for breast cancer, in particular environmental and genetic factors. It also addresses opportunities for risk reduction.

The COEC has been promoting the workshop in high-risk communities, particularly to African American audiences in churches and community programs, emphasizing UNC research on the biological factors among African American women who suffer from an aggressive form of breast cancer. Read about the COEC’s additional outreach efforts with this population in the UNC Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP).


Researchers in CEHS are conducting studies to understand the environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer and other environmental cancers. Read about CEHS breast cancer research in the Environmental Cancer Flexible Interdisciplinary Research Group (FIRG).

Ways to reduce risk

  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes most days.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, with a Body Mass Index between 18.5 and 24.9.
  • Avoid exposure to PAHs, passive smoking and other chemical pollutants.
  • Find out about your family history of breast cancer and discuss it with your health care provider. Become aware of any strong family history of breast cancer.
  • Get regular health care and discuss any concerns with your health care provider.

ucational materials

Additional resources

Funded by NIEHS Grant # P30 ES010126