Cancer researchers fighting for Black women with groundbreaking new study

ATLANTA — The American Cancer Society is launching the largest behavioral and environmental-focused population study of cancer risk and outcomes in Black women in the United States.

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“The purpose of this study is to find out why Black women are diagnosed with more aggressive types of cancer and why they are more likely to die of cancer compared to their counterparts,” said American Cancer Society Researcher Dr. Lauren McCullough.

McCullough explained to Channel 2′s Tom Regan that Black women have the highest death rates and shortest survival for cancer compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

“This is in part driven by the fact that Black women are diagnosed with more aggressive disease and at later stages and that drives up mortality rates,” said McCullough.


The Voices of Black Women study seeks to enroll 100,000 Black women across 20 states including Georgia and Washington, D.C., where, according to the U.S. Census, more than 90% of this group of women live.

The long-term study participants will provide information about their medical history, family history, medications, diagnoses, physical activity, body weight, and sleeping habits.

“Then of course we want to get to things specifically related to Black women, including experiences of racism and discrimination, and any of those exposures could be linked to cancer and other outcomes. By connecting these dots, we are going to be better able to inform interventions in this group, and hopefully reduce cancer risk and have better outcomes,” said McCullough.

The planned duration of the study is thirty years. Participants will be ages 25 to 55 and have no cancer history. Those interested can find out information and enroll here.

“I have lost friends, I have lost colleagues, and family members to cancer. Voices of Black Women will be well positioned to help understand why Black women are diagnosed with more aggressive types of cancer, “said McCullough.

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