Breast cancer is the most common cancer among black women in the United States, and shocking statistics show that black women are about 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Black women are also diagnosed at younger ages and are more likely to be diagnosed with more aggressive forms of the disease than white women. In addition to differences in tumor biology, factors such as implicit bias, substandard care, and systemic racism are important contributors to this disparity.
“Black women continue to face significant barriers to breast cancer care regardless of their age, whether they have insurance or where they live,” said Paul SchneiderPresident and CEO Susan G. Coleman. “As highlighted in our report, the Stand for HER initiative creates a scalable model to support marginalized populations suffering from breast health inequalities. It calls us to create a world where everyone has access to high-quality care and the same chance of survival world.”
Building on decades of health equity work, Komen launched in 2021 “Supporting HER—A Health Equity Revolution,” an initiative that aims to leverage five key health equity change drivers to eliminate high rates of disproportionate health equity among Black women in the United States. Barriers to quality breast care: Patient support, education, workforce development, research, and public policy and advocacy. The Stand for HER impact report showcases Komen’s progress and commitment to achieving health equity in Black communities through the following key drivers:
patient support: Closing the gap with personalized care and financial assistance
- Breast cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat in the United States, and Black communities feel this financial burden due to systemic barriers to care. Coleman Hospital’s Patient Care Center provides direct support to Black patients through trained, culturally sensitive patient navigators.
- Komen’s financial assistance program has supported nearly 9,000 Black patients, including those with metastatic breast cancer, providing more than $4.7 million Paying for daily living expenses such as housing, transportation, groceries, etc. over the past three years so they can complete life-saving treatment.
educate: Empowerment through knowledge and community
- Through “Stand for HER,” Komen provides culturally relevant and responsive educational resources and programs so Black people gain accurate knowledge about breast health. Topics include understanding your risk for breast cancer, screening basics, access to quality care, and genetic counseling and testing (GCT).
- Data show that black women are less likely than white women to receive GCT services. Last year, 204 Black people received genetic counseling and 187 Black people completed genetic testing so they could have information about their health.
workforce development: Shaping the future of healthcare leadership
- Despite improvements in access to education, people of color remain underrepresented in the health care workforce, including in the scientific research that discovers treatments. Komen supports the professional development of young scientists from underrepresented communities through research grants such as ASPIRE (Advancing Inclusion in Research Excellence).
- The Komen Patient Navigator Training Program trained more than 1,000 Black patient navigators from 2022 to 2023, increasing their ability to address barriers to care that lead to inequities.
Research: Advancing health equity through research
- To date, Komen has invested nearly US$140 million More than 320 research grants and nearly 190 clinical trials are focused on advancing critical differentiating research. The Komen Science Advocate Program trains diverse patient advocates to participate as active members in breast cancer research, guide research and clinical trials, and bring patient voices to research to ensure that all patients participate in and benefit from research discoveries.
public policy and advocacy: Voices supporting systemic change
- Komen’s “Speak Truth to Power” program, which educates Black community leaders and advocates about the role of policy in addressing breast cancer disparities, has brought together more than 300 advocates since its creation in 2019. By elevating the voices of advocates, the Public Policy Center has supported 56 federal bills this year.
While the Komen Foundation’s “Support Her” program has had a significant impact, the fight is far from over. To learn more about these efforts through real-life stories of the women impacted by this work, read the Stand for HER Breast Cancer Impact Report.
To learn more about Komen’s efforts to close breast cancer health equity gaps in Black communities and provide quality care to all, visit www.komen.org/standforher.
about Susan G. Coleman®
Susan G. Coleman® is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization dedicated to saving lives and eliminating breast cancer forever. Komen has an unrivaled, comprehensive, 360-degree approach to fighting this disease on all fronts and supporting millions of people in the United States and countries around the world. We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, provide direct patient support and empower people with information they can trust. founder: Nancy G. Brinkwho promised her sister, Susan G. ColemanSaying she is putting an end to the disease that took Susie’s life, Coleman remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today while working tirelessly to find treatments for tomorrow. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 bring it on. Connect with us on social media: www.komen.org/contact-us/follow-us/.
source Susan G. Coleman