May 7, 2024 - Health

30-year study will probe cancer disparities in Black women

Illustration of a caduceus with uneven wings

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 100,000 Black women are expected to be enrolled in the largest-ever study of cancer risk and outcomes in this high-risk group, the American Cancer Society announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Despite major gains in the past two decades, Black women in the U.S. have the highest death rate and the shortest survival rates of any racial or ethnic group for most cancers.

How it works: Researchers over 30 years will follow Black women between 25 and 55 who haven't been diagnosed with cancer and come from diverse backgrounds.

  • Study participants will be surveyed about behavioral, environmental and lived experiences over time to better understand what's driving new cancers, mortality and resilience.
  • No medication, clinical testing, treatment or lifestyle changes will be part of the study.
  • Enrollment is open in 20 states where the vast majority of Black women live.

Between the lines: Cancer is among several conditions in which Black people — often, in particular, Black women — have higher rates of illness and poorer outcomes, and the reason behind the inequality is often unclear.

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