When we tri(al), we set a new standard of care.
Black Breast Cancer (n.)— the constellation of exposures, experiences, and lack of science for Black women diagnosed with breast cancer that causes Black women to face disproportionately worse breast cancer outcomes.
- Black women are 41% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women, with Black breast cancer patients experiencing the lowest 5-year survival rate of any race or ethnicity. Overall 5-year relative survival rates are 81% for Black women vs 91% for white women. Learn more.
- Black women under 35 get breast cancer at twice the rate and die at three times the rate. Learn more.
- A 2021 study published in Cancer Medicine found that Black women have a nearly three-fold increased risk of Triple Negative Breast Cancer–an aggressive subtype of breast cancer. Learn more.
Despite these disturbing statistics, Black women are largely excluded from trials that study breast cancer drugs and treatments. With low participation rates in clinical trials, Black women miss access to newly emerging and often life-extending treatments not otherwise available. But more than that, clinical trials are used to answer major questions: Does the new treatment or procedure work? Is what's being tested better than what's being used now? Does it cause more or fewer side effects?
The majority of breast cancer clinical trial participants are white women, which means that these fundamental questions aren’t being answered for Black women’s bodies. As documented by JCO Precision Oncology
, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
, and many others, Black women experience many cancer drug side effects differently, so what other aspects of treatment are not the same for Black breast cancer patients?
Trial data, resulting treatment protocols, and product development don’t account for the many factors of Black Breast Cancer. We will not be able to change the devastating Black Breast Cancer mortality numbers unless we understand the physiology of Black women. We cannot do that until we have more Black women participating in clinical research.
To learn more about Black Breast Cancer and clinical trials, visit TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance.