Do you know your family health history? University at Buffalo’s Primary Care Research Institute, Patient Voices Network, Our Curls Inc., and local physicians with input from community residents to develop an educational study about family history and breast cancer! The research study “Family History and Breast Cancer: Learning from the past to improve our future” focuses on discussing how to gather your family medical history and encouraging women to share their family history with their provider to create a personalized health screening plan. Screening guidelines exist that are adapted based on family history. This is particularly important among Black women since they are more likely to be diagnosed younger with more aggressive tumors that other racial/ethnic groups.  We know that earlier screening is one of the best ways to beat cancer, in communities of color. University at Buffalo researchers are looking for women 40 years old or older, who have never been diagnosed with breast cancer, and who live in the following ZIP codes: 14201, 14203, 14204, 14206, 14207, 14208, 14209, 14211, 14212, 14213, 14214, 14215, 14301, 14303, 14304, and 14305 to join us. Within this study, participants will engage with a research team member or a patient ambassador (a peer from the community) for either a 2-hour virtual group session or a series of one-on-one phone calls. Participants will also be asked to complete a series of surveys, for which they will receive compensation.  Participation in the study may take a total of about 3 hours over up to 4 months.

Are you interested in participating or have questions about the program? Please contact the research team at 716-816-7282 or You can also go to to fill out our eligibility survey. We hope you can join us!

The CDC Describes Cancer and Heredity 

About 5% to 10% of breast  cancers are hereditary. Hereditary cancer means cancer runs in your family, and could be caused by a change in certain genes that you inherited from your mother or father.Genes act as instructions and contain information to build and maintain cells in the body. Humans inherit one set of genes from their mother and one set of genes from their father.Genes are made up of DNA. DNA tells the body what traits will be passed on from parents to children, such as blood type, hair color, eye color, and risks of getting certain diseases. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two genes that are important to fighting cancer. They are tumor suppressor genes. When they work normally, these genes help keep breast and other types of cells from growing and dividing too rapidly or in an uncontrolled way.Sometimes a change or mutation occurs in the BRCA genes that prevent them from working normally. This raises a person’s risk for breast, ovarian and other cancers. Learn more about BRCA gene mutations.