Cancer Risk Reduction Through Education of Adolescents: Development of a Tailored Cancer Risk-Reduction Educational Tool

Nur Zeinomar, Amelia Grant-Alfieri, Kimberly R. Burke, Milagros de Hoz, Parisa Tehranifar, Desiree A.H. Walker, Taylor Morton, Peggy Shepard, Julie B. Herbstman, Rachel L. Miller, Frederica Perera, Mary Beth Terry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Growing evidence links adolescent exposures to cancer risk later in life, particularly for common cancers like breast. The adolescent time period is also important for cancer risk reduction as many individual lifestyle behaviors are initiated including smoking and alcohol use. We developed a cancer risk-reduction educational tool tailored for adolescents that focused on five modifiable cancer risk factors. To contextualize risk factors in adolescents’ social and physical environments, the intervention also focused on structural barriers to individual- and community-level change, with an emphasis on environmental justice or the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. The educational tool consisted of a 50-min module that included an introduction to cancer biology including genetic susceptibility and environmental interactions, cancer burden in the local community, and risk reduction strategies. The module also included an interactive activity in which adolescent students identify cancer risk factors and brainstorm strategies for risk reduction at both the individual and community level. We administered the module to 12 classes of over 280 high school and college students in New York City. Cancer risk reduction strategies identified by the students included family- or peer-level strategies such as team physical activity and community-level action including improving parks and taxing sugary foods. We developed a novel and interactive cancer risk-reduction education tool focused on multiple cancers that can be adopted by other communities and educational institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-1227
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer prevention education
  • Cancer risk reduction


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