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What is the Rivkin EDU Program?

Fun, frank cancer education without fear.

Our educational outreach program, Rivkin EDU, is all about prevention and early detection. Our mission is to educate all individuals in our community on ovarian and breast health.

Through our science-based curriculum — taught by a health instructor and an ovarian/breast cancer survivor — women will know their bodies better and have the tools to be powerful advocates for their health.

We empower individuals with the knowledge and tools for early detection, prevention, and self-advocacy so they can be proactive about their health.

What you'll learn

Where we educate

How we educate


Get to know us

Are you a cancer survivor?
Elizabeth Crouch

Rivkin EDU Instructor

‘”This education is important because although we live in a gendered society- we are often unaware of our own body parts. It’s refreshing to feel not only aware but empowered and advocating on behalf of them.”

“Underrepresented communities like the LGBTQ community need more specific health education that will help them feel empowered about their bodies. They also need a safe place to talk about these issues and the intersection of their body, health and general well-being.”

Ready to host a party? It’s free. It’s easy.

What you’ll learn

Attendees learn the following about ovarian and breast cancer:

  • Signs & Symptoms
  • Screening recommendations in line with national guidelines
  • Risk factors
  • Assessing cancer risk with our family history and genetic counseling worksheet and online Assess Your Risk quiz
  • Having conversations about health history with families and trusted health care professional
  • Cancer myths
  • Health lifestyle choices to help reduce risk


Attendees are educated and empowered on the importance of:

  • Knowing their bodies
  • Advocating for their health – having a trusted healthcare provider
  • Sharing this important information with family and friends

Where we educate

We are committed to providing education to all individuals in an effort to provide equitable care and ultimately reduce health disparities in our communities.

-In the community
At affordable housing residential complexes, women’s shelters, rotary clubs, monthly book clubs, religious groups, and mom groups.

-In the workplace
Enhance your wellness program offerings at monthly or quarterly employee meetings, lunch & learn workshops, and employee happy hours.

-In a fitness class
At yoga classes to spin classes, add a 15-minute health education talk before class.

-On college campuses
At sororities, student organizations, health classes, sports team gatherings, and anywhere where students regularly meet. Click here to go to campus program

How we educate

We offer three different opportunities (Signature Rivkin EDU Party, Rivkin EDU Teaser, Rivkin EDU Tabling) to educate at no cost to your organization. We can also customize our curriculum to meet your needs and time constraints. We can accommodate audience sizes ranging from 10 – 1000+ attendees whether you are looking for an intimate gathering or an auditorium style lecture.

-Signature Rivkin EDU party
Our one hour workshop that includes a health instructor who educates on our comprehensive curriculum, discussing early detection, prevention, family history, signs and symptoms, cancer myths, and more. Also includes a ovarian or breast cancer survivor who shares her cancer journey. This interactive workshop can include playing games to help attendees learn and have fun at the same time.

-Rivkin EDU Teaser
Our teasers condense the most important take-aways from our curriculum into a 15 minute health education talk facilitated by a health instructor. The talk empowers individuals with the knowledge and tools to prevent and detect ovarian and breast cancer as early as possible so they can be proactive about their health, teaching on signs and symptoms of ovarian and breast cancer, and assessing personal risk of cancer. The teaser does not include a cancer survivor to share her personal cancer journey.

-Rivkin EDU Tabling
Include our tabling at your organizations/company’s health and wellness fairs. One of our health instructors or survivors will table and provide information on educational resources for ovarian and breast health.

Talk to your Family

Talking to your family and identifying cancer in your family tree can be a good indicator of your health risks. Download our Family Tree Worksheet here.  Be sure to include yourself, children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Get Educated

Know your body and be proactive about your health. Learn about your breast and ovarian health. Learn about the risk factors and signs & symptoms for breast and ovarian cancer.

Trusted Healthcare Provider

Having a relationship with a health care provider you know and trust is one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your health care. Click here to find a provider

Higher Risk in the Ashkenazi Jewish Population

In the general population, around 1 in 400 people carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. People of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry have a 1 in 40 chance of carrying a BRCA mutation, making them 10 times as likely to carry a BRCA mutation as someone in the general population. Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you have a BRCA mutation then there is a 50% chance of passing the mutation on to your children, whether they are boys or girls. It’s important to note that these mutations significantly increase risk, but are not a guarantee a person will get cancer.

Why is the Ashkenazi Jewish population at higher risk?

Over 90% of the BRCA mutations found in the Jewish community are one of three “founder mutations”. A founder mutation is a specific gene mutation in a population that was founded by a small group of ancestors that were geographically or culturally isolated. Because the population was isolated, the rate of founder mutations in descendants is much higher than it would be if the population were larger and co-mingling with more genetically diverse populations. A large expansion in the population caused the current high frequency of the mutations in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. If you are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, the chance of carrying a BRCA gene mutation compared to the general population is increased tenfold. BRCA mutations can be passed down from either your mother’s or father’s side, and may be associated with any of the following cancers:
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer, fallopian tube, peritoneal cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Colon Cancer

Ready to take action? Knowledge is power. Take this short quiz to be proactive about your health.

Genes 101

Our bodies are made of many tiny building blocks called cells. Our cells contain a copy of our genome – all of the DNA genetic code we inherited from our parents. Our genome is organized into 46 chromosomes, 23 inherited from mom and 23 from dad. Each chromosome has hundreds or thousands of genes. Each gene has the instructions to make a protein that may control the structure or function of cells, can determine many things including how tall we are or the color of our eyes. Genes also contain instructions for many things inside of us that we cannot see, such as how our bones are formed or how our heart works. Each gene is made up of molecules called nucleic acids (A, T, C, and G). The specific sequence of the nucleic acids holds the instructions that control all the components and their functions in cells.

If the DNA sequence is changed, like a spelling mistake, the instructions may not make sense. The technical term for this change is “mutation,” meaning there is a change to the usual genetic code that may change the instructions stored in the gene. A mutation in a gene that repairs DNA damage or controls cell growth can increase the risk of developing cancer.

Sporadic vs Hereditary Cancers:

Ovarian and breast cancer can be either sporadic or hereditary. Sporadic cancers make up the vast majority (85-90%) of ovarian and breast cancers and are not associated with family history of either cancer or inherited cancer-associated mutations. Sporadic cancers arise from genetic mutations acquired in some cells of the body by events part of normal metabolism and environmental factors. This type of cancer can happen to anyone. Most acquired gene mutations are not shared among relatives or passed on to children.

Hereditary (also known as inherited, or familial) cancers are those that occur due to genetic mutations that are inherited from mom or dad. Other blood relatives may also share these same gene mutations. Parents give one copy of each gene to their children. If a parent has a genetic mutation in a gene, each of their children have a 50% chance of inheriting that mutation. Therefore, even in families with hereditary cancer, not all family members inherit the mutation that is causing cancer, and their risk of cancer is similar to the average person in the general population. Individuals who are suspected to have a family history with high incidence of ovarian, breast, and other cancers may be offered genetic testing to try to find the specific genetic mutation that may put them at risk. Importantly, individuals who do not have a known genetic mutation but have high incidence of ovarian, breast, or other cancers in their families are still considered at higher risk for developing those cancers.

Hereditary cancers often occur at an earlier age than the sporadic form of the same cancer, so experts often recommend starting cancer screening at a younger age for individuals at high risk for hereditary cancer. Hereditary cancers can also be more aggressive than the sporadic form of the same cancer. Individuals who have inherited a gene mutation may be at a higher risk for more than one type of cancer.

BRCA 1 and BRCA 2: Most Common hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

The genes that are most commonly involved in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) are BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes are named for their link to breast (BR) cancer (CA), but they are also linked to ovarian cancer risk as well as other cancers. Both women and men can inherit mutations in these HBOC genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes that have a usual role in our body of providing instructions on repairing DNA damage and preventing cancer. When a family has an inherited mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2, this leads to an increase in cancer risk. Not every man or woman who has inherited a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene will develop cancer, but people who have a mutation do have a significanlty increased chance of developing cancer, particularly cancer of the breasts or ovaries.

While breast and ovarian cancers are the most common cancers diagnosed in people with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, the risk of some other cancers is also increased. Men with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have a higher risk of early-onset prostate cancer than men without mutations in either gene. Other cancers seen at increased rates, particularly in individuals with BRCA2 mutations, include pancreatic cancer and melanoma. Researchers are continuing to find new genes that are involved in hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer so it is important to follow up with a genetic counselor on a regular basis if hereditary breast and ovarian cancer is likely in your family.

Talk to your family about your health history and take the Assess Your Risk quiz here