About Kyrra Engle

kyrraTell me a little bit about yourself.

I have been a passionate advocate of human rights since the first grade, when I insisted that girls as well as boys be allowed to play flag football during recess. After graduating from the University of Redlands, I spent four years working in advocacy and development with different community organizations in Australia, West Africa, and the United States. Since returning to California almost two years ago, I have had the opportunity to gain on-the-ground experience as a health educator and medical assistant at Planned Parenthood. In this position, I have been inspired by the potential of evidence-based medical information to empower individuals to take action and engage their right to health.

How did you first get involved with Breast Cancer Action?

I first heard about Breast Cancer Action while taking a class on the biology of human cancer at University of California Berkeley Extension. During the class, I was shocked to learn for the first time that over half of the women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States have no known risk factors and that there is increasing scientific evidence of the role of involuntary environmental exposures. However, I was even more amazed to learn about how little major health organizations were doing to improve prevention and address systemic inequalities related to breast cancer.

Why did you decide to join the Community Leaders for Change?

I decided to join the Community Leaders for Change because I want to connect my community to information on the systemic issues that are the root cause of the breast cancer epidemic and counter the current focus on individual risk and mammography screening. Additionally, I feel more young women should participate in Breast Cancer Action as future stakeholders of this epidemic.

What’s your personal philosophy on what should be done to end the breast cancer epidemic?

I believe working to prevent breast cancer before it starts is equally, if not more important, than working to find a cure. This will require not only looking at the many factors that contribute to the causes of breast cancer, but also making systemic changes in the way we travel, farm, generate energy, make things, regulate industries, and allow corporations to do business.

What are your goals as a Community Leader and breast cancer advocate?

My goal as a Community Leader is to build informed support in my community for broader public health interventions to end the breast cancer epidemic and inspire women from underserved populations and women in their 20’s and 30’s to take action.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the Community Leaders for Change?

While cancer can seem simply impossible to rein in and stop, we know this is not true. However, only by taking action together can we can make substantial changes and progress towards a solution.