“As a Black woman, I definitely advocate for other Black women to become a part cancer research, and here is why,” says Bridgette Hempstead, a Black woman with metastatic breast cancer. “Medications are developed and they are mainly developed for middle-aged White women, because the research for Black women is not there.”
Hempstead is founder of Cierra Sisters, a support organization for African-American breast cancer survivors, and knows well the barriers for African-American women to engage in breast cancer research and the consequences if they are not included.
The Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Project at the Broad Institute and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute are working to break down these barriers and give black women a seat at the breast cancer research table. According to the MBC Project website, it is a nationwide movement of patients, doctors, and scientists seeking to recruit women with metastatic breast cancer and, with their permission, access their tissue samples from the hospitals that care for them. The goal is to use those samples to transform their understanding of metastatic breast cancer to aid in the development of future therapies.
“We initially knew that we would probably skew young and White just based on who we had reach to in social media,” said Dr.