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The Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), a joint effort co-funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is the next phase of a program that began with the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers (BCERC) in 2003. The BCERP supports a multidisciplinary network of scientists, clinicians, and community partners to examine the effects of environmental exposures that may predispose a woman to breast cancer throughout her life. The network engages both laboratory and population-based research to study puberty and other “windows of susceptibility” or specific time periods when the developing breast may be more vulnerable to environmental exposures.

The program has three parallel efforts: the Puberty Study, an ongoing multi-site epidemiologic cohort study with more than 1200 young girls that is looking at determinants of pubertal maturation; the Windows of Susceptibility studies, (laboratory and epidemiological) addressing environmental influences on breast cancer risk throughout the lifespan; and a Coordinating Center with responsibility for organization and communications for the BCERP, and serving as a central repository and clearinghouse for cross-site data in the Puberty studies.


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