By Ricki Fairley, Vice President

Sisters Network

Photo provided

Isn’t it disturbing that African American women have a 31 percent breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group? Isn’t it horrific that Black women are 42 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women?  Isn’t it outrageous that the breast cancer recurrence rate for Black women is 39 percent? Isn’t it frightening that Black women under 35 get breast cancer at twice the rate and die at three times the rate? 

Why is this happening? Why are so many Black women dying of breast cancer? One key reason is that we don’t have therapies that are effective for our physiology. That is because African American participation in clinical trials is extremely insufficient.  Black women are reluctant to engage in clinical trials and may refuse treatment as a result of our own race-related biases and lack of trust in medical professionals. According to the FDA in eight recent clinical trials involving five drugs approved for breast cancer, 2.5 percent of clinical trial participants were Black.

My awesome physician and sister friend, Dr. Regina Hampton, President of Doctors Community Hospital,  Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer for Breast Care for Washington, DC says, “We need to look at these statistics and sound the alarm.  Black women need access, trials and answers to figure out why there is not more progress in breast cancer statistics.  We need to find innovative ways to make clinical trials available to this community that has deep mistrust in research.”  

I am on a personal mission to increase participation in clinical trials! Join me on this mission by checking out this amazing new patient-focused platform to both gather, digitize, organize and control your health records, AND provide you with an actionable health profile that is easily sharable with doctors and researchers who are conducting research that could save your life. Ciitizen digitizes and stores your information. It is safely protected in accordance with HIPAA laws and always in your control. If a trial that is appropriate for you, you will be notified and asked if you are interested. If you are interested and want to pursue it, the researcher will have instant access to your digital file which will expedite the process and get you closer to the life-saving medications and therapies that could help you.

“There is nothing more painful to see than a loved one afflicted with cancer,” said Anil Sethi, Ciitizen’s Founder and CEO, who started the company following the loss of his little sister to metastatic breast cancer. “Ciitizen was founded to help patients and their loved ones control their data—something we believe unlocks better care and access to therapies.” Sethi is focusing the efforts of the company on breast cancer so if you are a breast cancer Warrior, you really need to have your records here to be on top of the latest breast cancer research opportunities.

I know you may have fear about getting the “placebo” drug but all that means is that you may get standard of care and not the trial drug. It’s just what you would have taken anyway.  There is no downside to participating in clinical research. Plus you get great quality of care and more attention from your health professionals. 

Ciitizen is so committed to helping people, their service is FREE, and they built me my own website to sign people up and they are paying $10 for each person I sign up to my non-profit organization of choice, which is Sisters Network Inc., the only national African American breast cancer organization.  Click here to check it out:

I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand the science of Black Breast Cancer.  Help yourself, help our Breasties. Take control of your health records. Give yourself access to medications that could save your life!

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