Understanding risk for breast or ovarian cancer can be daunting for anyone, especially given that breast cancer remains the most common type of cancer among American women and the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. But being aware and taking actions to reduce risk, like exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake and getting appropriate screening, can help reduce lifetime cancer risks.
One organization – Bright Pink –has found a way to make learning about risk easier with the help of digital innovation. And with support from Medline and the Medline Foundation, it’s revamped its digital tool and brought cancer risk awareness to more than 181,000 women.
Bright Pink, a non-profit founded in 2007, strives to empower young women to be proactive advocates for their health. Bright Pink first piloted Assess your Risk, a digital risk assessment tool, in 2013 to help women uncover their risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer based on their responses to a series of questions. Since then, 1.5 million women have used it to learn more about risk factors and how those might tie in with their own health.
“We chose to create a digital tool because we really believe that digital innovation is a democratizing force for education and awareness. It’s barrier free, it’s available to every woman where she is in her daily life,” said Katie Thiede, CEO of Bright Pink.
In 2018, Medline and the Medline Foundation awarded Bright Pink a $25,000 grant through its Community Impact Grant Program for Breast Cancer Awareness. This support helped Bright Pink significantly revamp its risk assessment tool, introducing changes that made it more robust, easier to use and more accessible to women everywhere.
Some of the new changes included adding more questions related to race and demographics, as well as health coverage status – information Bright Pink is using to enhance the cultural competency of the tool and account for the influences that race and ethnicity have on risk. Bright Pink also added more educational content throughout the assessment, made it more integrated with other resources and tools and enhanced the follow-up experience for women who complete the tool.
“We’ve moved beyond having the tool be a quiz to being a risk assessment experience, meaning that now, in addition to seeing your risk result after you complete the quiz, we’re also delivering personalized plans for risk management directly to users’ inboxes and engaging them with follow-up content to really help drive risk reducing actions,” said Meg Lassar, Bright Pink’s senior vice president of strategy and advancement.
Responses to these changes so far have been positive, both Lassar and Thiede say. Since receiving support from Medline, 95,000 of the women who took the assessment learned they were at elevated risk. Based on a follow-up survey, 20% of these women said they went on to take risk-reducing actions, such as following up with their doctor, taking genetic tests, talking with a genetic counselor, and/or enrolling in increased screening.
“We’re incredibly proud of the success and none of it would be possible without Medline’s support for us,” Thiede said.
Through its Community Impact Grant Program for Breast Cancer Awareness, Medline delivers support to organizations serving diverse patients in all stages of the disease, from prevention and early detection to grief counseling for families and loved ones.
Grant recipients for the 2019 Community Impact Grant Program for Breast Cancer Awareness will be announced in October. Learn more about all of the Medline Community Impact Grant Programs here.