What is CYGNET?
The CYGNET (Cohort of Young Girls' Nutrition, Environment, and Transitions) Study is a research study funded by the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, led by Dr. Lawrence Kushi and based at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California. The study is looking at how factors in our environment, our lifestyle and our genes affect when girls start puberty. There are 444 girls enrolled in the study from across the San Francisco Bay Area. They signed up for the study with their parents when they were between 6 and 8 years old. Now, in 2013, the study is in its 8th year and the girls are between the ages of 13 and 15. The CYGNET Study is part of a network of studies across the U.S. called the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program that are trying to understand what factors affect the start of puberty in girls. Similar puberty studies are being carried out at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. For more information please visit: http://bcerp.org/ or read our report titled Puberty, Breast Cancer and the Environment.
We know that there has been a trend of girls going through puberty at younger ages and early puberty is a risk factor for breast cancer. We are particularly interested in whether exposure to chemicals in the environment, through personal and household products that may be hormonally active, results in earlier puberty. We are also looking at developmental and lifestyle factors such as changes in weight, physical activity, and food since greater body fat is known to increase the risk of early puberty. Finally, we're looking at whether genetic and psychosocial factors influence puberty and interact with environmental exposures. Through this study, we hope to understand what important factors result in early puberty and can put girls at risk for developing breast cancer in the future.