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Know Your History, Know Your Risk: Saving Black Lives From Breast Cancer

Susan G. Komen® Is Committed to Eliminating Disparities in Outcomes for Black Women

According to Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, the inequities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic have long been experienced by Black women with breast cancer. The tragic history of breast cancer for Black women is one of being underserved at almost every step in the health care system, including before they are diagnosed. These systemic issues are compounded by the lack of diversity in breast cancer research and clinical trials, leading to limited understanding of breast cancer in and the effectiveness of treatments for Black women.

“Black women face a trifecta of issues that negatively affect their breast cancer outcomes,” said Paula Schneider, Komen’s President and CEO. “They tend to be diagnosed younger, at later stages and with more aggressive and hard-to-treat subtypes of breast cancer, such as triple negative breast cancer. The impact of systemic racism and bias starting at screening through treatment compounds the barriers to quality care and better outcomes. This is unacceptable. Together, we can change outcomes in breast cancer for Black women.”  

In honor of Black History Month, Komen is launching a resource, “Know Your History, Know Your Risk,” to help empower Black women to take charge of their breast health and inspire meaningful conversations with family, friends and healthcare providers about their breast cancer risk. Visit to access resources and information to learn more about how one’s family health history may impact a person’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Komen estimates that as many as one-third of those dying of breast cancer each year could be saved if they had access to the high standard of care and treatments that already exist today. Komen’s health equity program is comprehensive and serves Black patients by:

  • Connecting Black breast cancer patients to high quality care and overcoming barriers in the health care system through patient navigation
  • Empowering patients with evidence-based information about breast cancer, their rights as breast cancer patients, and options along care pathways
  • Sparking research discoveries that will provide improved treatments and care that overcome the drivers of disparities
  • Supporting young Black scientists with funding to advance their research careers, to ensure diversity in research leadership
  • Speaking truth to power in our state and national capitols by elevating the voice of Black breast cancer patients in public policy advocacy

Komen is committed to eliminating barriers and reducing disparities in breast cancer outcomes for Black women.