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American Cancer Society Launches Study of Black Women

Recently, the American Cancer Society (ACS) announced the launch of the VOICES of Black Women study, the largest behavioral and environmental-focused population study of cancer risk and outcomes in Black women in the United States. 

Designed to better understand the multi-level drivers of cancer incidence, mortality and resilience within this demographic, the long-term study will gather valuable data from Black women between the ages of 25 and 55 from diverse backgrounds and income levels who have not been diagnosed with cancer. The organization aims to enroll over 100,000 Black women across 20 states and D.C. where, according to the U.S. Census, more than 90 percent of Black women in the U.S. reside.

A global leader in cancer research, the American Cancer Society has a 70-year history of funding and conducting some of the world’s largest and most impactful population cohort studies to understand how cancer develops in populations. Through these studies, over 2.5 million research participants have contributed to landmark discoveries in cancer science like the linkage of cigarette smoking to lung cancer, obesity to the risk of early death, and red and processed meat intake to higher risk of colon cancer. But despite these significant strides in cancer research, Black women continue to have the highest death rate and the shortest survival of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers. Results will be used to improve the overall health of Black women for generations to come.

“The data we’ve uncovered through previous population studies has been critical in reducing the unacceptably high burden of cancer, but that reduction has sadly not been equal,” said ACS researcher Dr. Alpa Patel. “By centering Black women’s voices and experiences, we can dig deeper in uncovering the unique challenges and barriers contributing to cancer disparities and develop tailored interventions to mitigate them.”

Recruitment for the study began in October 2023 with a pilot launch in Atlanta, GA and Hampton Roads, VA. Eligible participants must identify as Black, be assigned female at birth or self-identify as women, not have a history of cancer (except basal or squamous skin cancer), and be between the ages of 25 and 55.  Enrolled participants will provide informed consent and, over the span of 30 years, answer behavioral, environmental, and lived experience questions through periodic short surveys delivered via a secure online portal. No medication, clinical testing, treatment, or lifestyle changes are part of the study.

For more information about the VOICES of Black Women study and how to participate, visit (Voices.Cancer.org).

Ebony Huerta Wells has over 25 years of writing and media experience. She was a former business journalist with a major newspaper and worked for other niche publications.

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