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Assess Your Risk

Assess Your Risk

Take Your Health Into Your Own Hands

Bright Pink is a nonprofit like no other: We want to advance the conversation around breast and ovarian cancer beyond awareness to action. Our organization is built on a foundation of focusing on health, not cancer.

This October, we are launching a new and improved version of our digital quiz, Assess Your Risk, to better empower all women to learn their breast and ovarian cancer risk and manage their health proactively. While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an excellent time to talk about breast health, Bright Pink is fiercely committed 365 days a year to ensuring women can be their own best health advocates. We have updated our flagship program, Assess Your Risk, to better equip women to do just that.

What’s new, you ask?

The tool is up-to-date with the latest National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, has received the National Society of Genetic Counselor’s seal of approval, and includes new features such as:

  • A design facelift! We are using new colors and design elements to enhance your quiz-taking experience.
  • A better mobile experience so you can easily take the quiz on-the-go.
  • Results delivered to your inbox: A PDF version of your results will be emailed to you after taking the quiz so that it’s always at your fingertips.
  • Personalized results and risk-reduction recommendations–we do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to breast and ovarian health. You’ll also be served up content and resources that meet you where you are in your breast and ovarian health journey. For example, if you don’t have a complete picture of your family health history, the quiz will generate your individual results based on lifestyle and personal health history, but then follow up with resources to support you in gathering any gaps in information if needed.  
  • A new section on the results page called ‘Things we’re keeping an eye on,’ dedicated to informing you about ongoing research into additional factors that may contribute to your risk (i.g. IUD’s and other forms of birth control, transgender hormone therapy, and endometriosis, among others).
  • An enhanced user experience with a progress bar to guide you through questions organized by category of risk factors (family health history, personal health history, lifestyle).
  • New questions about race/ethnicity and health insurance to better tailor results and enhance the accessibility of follow up content.
  • New content and recommendations related to the elevated risk of triple-negative breast tumors and BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations amongst black women.

 

We’re super proud of this new and improved Assess Your Risk experience, and want everyone to see what all the hype is about. Shout out to our corporate partner, Deloitte, for sponsoring the development of this life-saving tool.

If you have already assessed your risk, you know how valuable that knowledge can be. But did you know you should reassess annually? Your breast and ovarian cancer risk can change over time and the medical community is always learning about new factors that affect our risk. If you haven’t taken the quiz yet this fall, there’s no time like the present to take your health into your own hands.

Bright Pink is committed to helping all women know and understand why it’s even important to know your breast and ovarian cancer risk in the first place. So, we teamed up with notable influencers across the nation to share their stories and inspire you to prioritize your breast and ovarian health. Shout out to Zeta Tau Alpha for sponsoring the development and distribution of these incredible videos. We dare you to watch these and not get instantly inspired.

If you skimmed this post (no judgement) and only walk away with one thing, know this: Bright Pink is here to help you take your health into your own hands, but being proactive starts with you. Take control of your breast and ovarian health first by taking Assess Your Risk, watching our inspirational videos, and stay connected to us and our work on social media. Your body thanks you!

 

Bright Pink founder, Lindsay Avner with Education Ambassadors Cailtin Lopez and Brittany Whitman
Personal Stories

A Bright Pink Education Ambassador’s Story: Caitlin Lopez

Interested in making a difference in the lives of young women? Become a Bright Pink Education Ambassador or PinkPal today. Read on for Cailtin Lopez’s story.

In my family, the only known case of breast cancer was my maternal grandmother when she was around 50 years old. She had a single mastectomy with no reconstruction and that was it. However, my gynecologist advised that I should consider genetic testing because of my family history of other cancers. My mother was tested first and when she received her results I immediately went in for testing. It was then that I discovered I am BRCA+.

I met with a genetic counselor and we discussed all of my options for prevention and early detection such as surveillance, medications, and surgery. She also introduced me to Bright Pink and suggested their PinkPal program which matches young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer with fellow high-risk individuals. I immediately reached out and received a PinkPal. I was partnered with a wonderful woman who had been in my exact situation. She helped me feel confident, answered all of my questions, and made me feel at ease.  Cailtin Lopez with her Bright Pink T-shirt

After my PinkPal helped me realize that I would be OK, I made a decision and a life plan of what I would do in regards to my BRCA+ status; I went through with surgery. After I recovered, I decided I was ready to support others.  

I received a PinkPal in 2013 and I became a PinkPal in early 2014. It was important for me to provide that comfort for other women that my PinkPal provided for me. It’s nice to know that you have a support group when you’re going through something that affects your life so much.

I wanted to continue my journey of volunteering with Bright Pink so I attended Bright Pink University, a training program for volunteers, in the summer of 2014. There I learned how to present the Brighten Up Educational Workshop, which is a 30-minute presentation that covers the basics of breast and ovarian health, introduces the idea of different lifetime risk levels, and provides early detection and prevention strategies.

Completing Bright Pink University was one of the greatest things I have ever done. Not only has it been beneficial for me, but for others in my family and community as well.

I remember being nervous while waiting to present my first Brighten Up Workshop. It was at St John’s University in Queens. The group was really positive and asked lots of great questions.  I’ll never forget that group – and I have educated new groups at St John’s University every year for the last three years. They always welcome me with open arms.    

Being informed is an important factor in order to be in control of your health.  I am honored and happy to be a part of an organization, like Bright Pink, that helps empower people to be proactive and teach them to take knowledge and turn it into something wonderful.

Caitlin Lopez after presenting a Brighten Up Workshop

While a goal of mine is to educate as many women as possible, I’m a huge fan of smaller groups too, because women (and men) tend to ask more questions, share their stories, and feel more connected. I love the feeling of helping women understand that they have control over their health and can choose to be proactive.  

Empowering women is something I am truly passionate about.

Becoming a Bright Pink ambassador has empowered me and I love the fact that I can help people dig into their family history and question their doctors. I always want to help others, especially women, and Bright Pink helps me accomplish this. My own family health history and personal genetics push me to help others realize that they are in control of their health and they don’t need to be afraid of their genetic testing results. I want everyone to know they can help themselves and their families and choose to be proactive.

 

Caitlin was inspired to volunteer with Bright Pink because of her genetic testing journey and her drive to empower others.  Find out how you can make a difference in the lives of young women. Become a Bright Pink Education Ambassador or PinkPal today.

 

 

Assess Your Risk on smartphone
Community

Bright Pink + The Effies

At Bright Pink, we know that the work we do is powerful and life-saving, so it’s always great to be recognized for it. The campaign for our state-of-the-art digital tool, AssessYourRisk.org, was selected as a finalist for a Health Effie! The Effies recognize, “effectiveness in marketing communications, spotlighting marketing ideas that work and encouraging thoughtful dialogue about the drivers of marketing effectiveness.”

Bright Pink was selected as a finalist for “Too Important to “Go Viral” – Using Facebook Ads to Drive Predictable, Repeatable Impact” for Bright Pink in the category of Disease Awareness & Education: Advocacy.

AssessYourRisk.org is proving not only to be a life-saving tool, but the campaign surrounding it is being recognized as the very best in terms of effectiveness, and lets us know that our life-saving message is reaching an audience and inspiring people to actually take action. We’ve had over 80,000 people complete Assess Your Risk so far just this year, thanks in large part to strategic Facebook Ad campaigns created in partnership with our friends at Craft and Commerce.

What’s “AssessYourRisk.org?”

Understanding your risk is one of the most powerful things you can do today. AssessYourRisk.org is a digital tool to help you determine your personal level of risk for breast and ovarian cancer. It’s an online quiz comprised of 19 questions about family health history, personal health history and lifestyle factors.

“The work Bright Pink is doing is tremendous. I sent Assess Your Risk to my entire family and they were all blown away. It started a great conversation about breast cancer and prevention measures.” – Elizabeth M.

The quiz itself takes less than 5 minutes to complete and provides you with a customized assessment of your baseline risk for breast and ovarian cancer. You’ll learn what factors are working for you and perhaps those that aren’t benefitting you  You can print your results or even email them directly to your health care provider, all in an effort to begin or enhance conversations during your well-woman’s exam.

“Bright Pink provides a “report card” of sorts that tells you what factors are working in your favor so you don’t panic or feel helpless, then lists modifiable risk factors – things you can do to lower your cancer risk. I came out at “potentially high risk” and was advised to see a doctor or genetic counselor to confirm that your baseline risk truly is only increased, and not actually high. I appreciate the qualifiers.” – Ricki L, PhD

We are so honored to be selected as a finalist for a Health Effie award because of our efforts promoting AssessYourRisk.org. It’s just more reassurance that we’re on track to keep educating women and inspiring them to turn awareness into action. Now it’s back to work, because we’re not done saving lives yet!

Gina and Melissa
Personal Stories

“My sister was always there to help me, but now I had to be strong for her”

My sister, Melissa, is my best friend. I’ve always looked up to her and followed in her footsteps. As the oldest of four (we have two little brothers), she would always be bossing us around at home. I was like her little sidekick who would do whatever she wanted, no matter what. She always let me tag along with her friends and in high school I was always known as “Melissa’s little sister,” not Gina. Growing up, we were inseparable and would say to each other, “what do other girls without sisters do all day?”

On September 2nd, 2016, Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 31 and had discovered a lump while breastfeeding.

“The doctor told her it was probably nothing, but she had a gut feeling and went back a couple of weeks later to do more testing.”

Melissa decided to advocate for her health, and she found out that she had 100% estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. When Melissa noticed the lump in her breast, we all told her it was nothing. She was persistent that something wasn’t right, but even when we were waiting on the results I didn’t think it was going to be cancer. So when she was diagnosed, we were all in a state of shock and disbelief.

“I always heard about this happening to other people, and older women. Not my family. Not my sister. Not someone who is only 31 years old.”

Melissa went for her surgery about two weeks after being diagnosed, just 10 days before her son Niko’s first birthday. My mom took off work to go stay with her in New York to help with the baby. We all celebrated his first birthday while she had tubes hanging from her chest. Two days later, we found out that Melissa’s cancer had spread to one of her lymph nodes. It was devastating because we knew this meant that she needed further treatment.

After we got this horrible news, the roles that we played for each other as sisters switched. I was on the phone with her every day on my drive home from work. Building her up, giving her advice.

“She was always there to give me advice and help me, and now I had to be strong for her. I didn’t want her to know how scared I was, too.”

This journey has been so hard for all of us, but the worst part was waiting for the doctor visits. It was not knowing the plan of treatment and the fear of the unknown. She went to several doctors who were suggesting very aggressive chemotherapy treatments. She got several opinions and finally she decided to go with a milder form of chemotherapy.

After watching her endure chemotherapy every two weeks for the past few months, I am excited to say she finished her last treatment in February! We are all so excited to see her chemotherapy coming to an end and are hopeful for the future.

“To anyone who is dealing with something similar, know that this is only a temporary part of your life. Imagine yourself beyond the cancer. You will laugh again. You will get through this. This is not what defines your life.”

Melissa during her final chemotherapy session

Melissa during her final chemotherapy session

Watching my sister go through all of this really made me want to do something more. Something that could help other women and prevent them from going through everything Melissa has. She has been so strong through this long and trying process. That’s what inspired me to take on running my first marathon, and do it on Team Bright Pink.

“To all the young women out there who think that it won’t happen to you: assess your risk. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about your risk. Get checked, be breast self-aware, and let your doctor know if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t wait.”

I was introduced to Bright Pink a few years ago by a friend. After my sister was diagnosed I took advantage of the amazing tools that Bright Pink provides, like AssessYourRisk.org, and educated myself as much as I could. This experience really opened my eyes to how many young women are diagnosed with breast cancer. I think it’s so important that Bright Pink is so focused on educating women about breast and ovarian health at a young age. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone else. I am so grateful that I still have my confidant, best friend and partner in crime here with me.

Melissa’s strength inspired Gina to run a marathon and help Bright Pink save women’s lives from breast & ovarian cancer. If there’s someone in your life who inspires you to be strong, visit TeamBrightPink.org to find out how you can dedicate your life-saving run in their honor.

Early Detection, Risk-Reduction Lifestyle

Why you shouldn’t wait to call your doctor this month

The New Year might mean plenty of things for you. Maybe this is the year you read more, the year you stick to your exercise routine, or the year you treat yourself. But one action you definitely have to take is scheduling your annual well-woman exam. This check-up is a major component in your breast and ovarian cancer prevention and early detection strategy.

Even though Bright Pink’s official Call Your Doctor Day isn’t until June, why not get a jumpstart to 2017 and begin maintaining your breast and ovarian health by calling this month? After the influx of December patients, January is pretty calm at your OB-GYN office, so you might see your doctor in a few days rather than a few weeks. Here are some tips for calling the office to set up your appointment:

  • Call closer to the beginning of the month. The end of the month gets hectic at the OB-GYN when birth control prescriptions tend to run out and patients need refills ASAP. Avoid getting crowded out by last-minute appointments and call early in the month.
  • Schedule your appointment around popular days and time slots. The most popular days to visit the OB-GYN are Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the most booked times (daily) are 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 2 p.m. Unless you need to see your doctor at these times, be flexible with the receptionist.
  • Prepare for your visit. Another part of the new year for you might include insurance turnover, so make sure you have your updated info for the receptionist when you arrive (and arrive early!). To calm your nerves for the visit, print out and bring a copy of “5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor” so you know what to talk about. You can also discuss the results from Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk tool if you take the quiz beforehand.

It takes the same amount of time to call your doctor as it does to brush your teeth — so do both today! (Just not at the same time.)


Bright Pink is dedicated to empowering young women to have life-saving conversations with their doctors about breast and ovarian health. Learn more about how to foster this positive relationship at BrightPink.org. And don’t forget your printable guide on what to ask your doctor.

Community

Bright Pink + The Webby Awards. It’s On.

We created AssessYourRisk.org because, at Bright Pink, we believe all women need an easy and unintimidating way to learn about their breast and ovarian cancer risk. When 120,366 of you completed the tool last year, we knew we were onto something.

Today, we are proud to share that some of the leading minds in tech agree. Assess Your Risk was officially nominated for Best User Interface in the 20th Annual Webby Awards.

Let us break it down: The Webby Awards = The Academy Awards of the Internet = A Big Deal! In less than 60 seconds, you can help us bring home a Webby. Cast your vote here.

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet.

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which nominates and selects The Webby Award winners, is comprised of web industry experts, including Tumblr founder, David Karp, Executive Creative Director at Refinery29, Piera Gelardi, Musicians Questlove & Grimes, Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, Eva Chen, Twitter Co-Founder, Biz Stone, Jimmy Kimmel, and creator of the .gif file format, Steve Wilhite.

So what is Assess Your Risk? AssessYourRisk.org is our digital breast and ovarian cancer risk assessment tool that helps young women effortlessly understand their risk for these diseases and offers personalized risk-management recommendations.

To be nominated alongside Reuters, Google and other notable names is a true honor for our 17-person, Chicago-based, national nonprofit. Talk about small but mighty!

Nominees like Bright Pink are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the almost 13,000 entries we received this year.”

In a world where 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer and 1 in 67 ovarian cancer, taking proactive action is critical and we are so proud to be recognized for our impactful work in the digital space.

Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 and honored at a star-studded ceremony on Monday, May 16, 2016 at Cipriani on Wall Street in New York City. There they will have an opportunity to deliver one of The Webby Awards’ famous 5-Word Speeches. Past 5-Word Speeches include: Steve Wilhite’s “It’s Pronounced “Jif” not ‘Gif’; Stephen Colbert’s “Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.”; and Björk ‘s “A E I O U.”

What are you waiting for? It’s time to vote!


Assess Your Risk was originally designed by Sew, a creative agency out of Los Angeles. The website was then built upon by Too Good Strategy of Austin, Texas.

Early Detection, Risk-Reduction Lifestyle

Be the Change: 5 ways to champion women’s health

All women deserve the knowledge and tools to be powerful advocates for their breast and ovarian health. Set an example and be a champion of change for the women in your life. Because, well, Sandra Bullock said it best: “The most beautiful woman in the world is the one who protects and supports other women.”

  1. Be the teacher: You have the power to impact the way women think about their health. Make today the day you start a meaningful conversation about the importance of living proactively. Need help starting the conversation? These quick tips for breast and ovarian cancer risk reduction are a great place to start.
  2. Set a good example: Adopting healthy habits like eating well, limiting alcohol consumption and exercising regularly, might just inspire the women around you to do the same.
  3. Be an advocate: Women’s health issues need to be talked about. Stay informed and be part of the conversation. Want to do even more? Bring Bright Pink’s free Brighten Up® Educational Workshop to your community and help spark a life-saving conversation.
  4. Make healthy fun: Invite friends on weekly walks, create a monthly “healthy dinner club,” or go outside of your comfort zone and sign up for a mud run obstacle course together! Who says being healthy can’t be fun?
  5. Send 5 friends a link to AssessYourRisk.org: Encourage the women in your life to take action and assess their risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Because knowledge really is power.
Early Detection, Risk-Reduction Lifestyle

Bright Pink’s Stance on ACS Mammogram Guideline Revisions

Today, the American Cancer Society released revised mammography guidelines. Those guidelines recommend that women at average risk begin getting mammograms at age 45 instead of 40, and that physicians forego giving clinical breast exams to their patients altogether.

Bright Pink continues to recommend that women at average risk get mammograms starting at age 40, and that primary care physicians provide a clinical breast exam to their patients annually.

In reflecting on these revised recommendations, we believe that there are three key points to emphasize.

The recommendations are for women at average risk. Unfortunately, we know that many women don’t know what level of risk they have for breast cancer, and physicians often aren’t engaging their patients under the age of 45 in a conversation about breast cancer risk. Recommending that women delay screening on the basis of risk demands a greater level of patient and provider attention to and conversation about individual lifetime risk of cancer. For women with a family history of breast cancer or genetic predisposition, mammograms before the age of 40 may be the recommendation. Our risk assessment quiz, AssessYourRisk.org, is a useful tool for women to use to understand their risk.

Additionally, the recommendation makes clear that women should make an informed choice about mammogram and we believe they should do the same in regards to clinical breast exams. It is appropriate for women to be active, informed participants in their own healthcare, and that they should always be involved in decision-making that weighs the potential harms against the potential benefits of these screening modalities.

Finally, Bright Pink believes it is imperative for women of all risk levels to practice breast self-awareness: knowing your family history of cancer, knowing what’s normal for your breasts, knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and knowing what steps you can take to reduce your own risk for the disease. To learn more about breast self-awareness, visit BrightPink.org.

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