What is Team Shan?

Monday, October 15, 2012
By, Lorna Larsen
Team Shan Breast Cancer Awareness for Young Women (Team Shan) is a Canadian charity dedicated to raising awareness that breast cancer is not just a disease of older women. Team Shan’s purpose is to educate the public, health care professionals and young women about early detection, risk reduction and prevention of breast cancer.

Team Shan was named after Shanna (Shan) Larsen. Shan had a kind heart, gentle spirit and a smile that would radiate across the room. Shan was a gifted artist, skilled swimming instructor and professional figure skating coach. Shan loved to work with children and planned to teach. She had graduated from university and was heading off to teacher’s college when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Living her beliefs, Shan always took a positive outlook on life. She accepted the tests and breast cancer treatments with determined optimism. Sadly the predictions of hope were not to be realized. Shan passed away a few months following her initial diagnosis. Like many young adults, Shan’s symptoms were misdiagnosed, her cancer was not detected early and it spread quickly. Shan was only 24.

Team Shan activities include:

  • multifaceted public awareness campaigns
  • high school, post secondary school and professional conference presentations
  • print resource development and dissemination
  • community events
  • publications
  • health promotion research support.

Team Shan has produced a successful social marketing model to reach young women with effective breast cancer messages. Shan’s story and the theme “breast cancer…not just a disease of older women” are reflected in the print materials, media and marketing activities.

Team Shan works primarily in high schools and on college and university campuses across Canada. Young women have responded positively to the campaigns, understood their breast cancer risk and increased their knowledge of the disease, risk factors, symptoms and self help strategies.

Young women have become more “breast aware” with information that will last their lifetime. Self detection information has provided young women with the opportunity to bring any breast cancer symptom to the attention of their health care provider. Young women have appreciated not being forgotten in breast cancer messaging.

Team Shan continues to work towards our goals to increase early detection and improve outcomes for young women diagnosed with the disease. Presentations begin in January 2012, awareness campaigns are planned for the fall and Team Shan will be raising awareness with physicians across Canada in April 2012.

Team Shan activities continue with a passion and commitment that are making a difference for young women following in Shan’s footsteps. We are helping to close the gap in awareness identified five years ago.

Please visit the Team Shan website, become a Team Shan Facebook fan at and share with friends and the special young women in your lives.


Lorna Larsen

Team Shan President

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tumors-Suck/145877928814836