Sisters Network, the only national African-American breast cancer survivors’ organization in the United States, has launched a new online program geared toward younger women.

The Young Sisters Initiative(YSI): A Guide to a Better You! provides Black women under the age 45 with accessible, culturally-appropriate information and resources about types of breast cancer, treatment, genetic testing, coping with emotions associated with diagnosis, and sexual and reproductive health.

African-American women are often the most vulnerable to cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 27,000 African-American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 6,000 will die from the disease in 2013. Younger African-American women are more likely to develop the disease than their White counterparts, though the incidence of cancer increases with age across all racial groups.

Sisters Network hosted focus groups with young African-American survivors nationwide to find out what they needed, and wanted, to know about everything from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship. The YSI program was then created with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Sisters Network is always identifying ways to be a viable resource for information and at the forefront of the breast cancer dialogue,” said Kelly P. Hodges, Sisters Network’s national program director, in a statement. “As young African American women continue to be diagnosed with breast cancer, it is important as a national organization that Sisters Network Inc. offer programs to meet and address their needs. YSI, A Guide to A Better You! was developed to do just that.”

Sisters Network is a nonprofit that was founded in 1994 by Karen E. Jackson. It currently has over 40 affiliate chapters located in 22 states.

The YSI program can be accessed at


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO