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These changemakers are tackling racial disparity in breast cancer care

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Headshots of Marissa Thomas, Ricki Farley, and Dr. Alexea Gaffney

As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s crucial to address the persistent issues of racial disparity in healthcare, particularly in the realm of breast cancer care and clinical trial recruitment. Despite advancements in treatment and early detection, Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than their white counterparts. This alarming statistic is compounded by the lack of representation in clinical trials, which are essential for developing effective treatments. The reasons behind these disparities are complex, involving socio-economic factors, access to healthcare, and bias within the medical system.

However, amidst these challenges, there are rays of hope and change spearheaded by remarkable women dedicated to making a difference. Let’s highlight three trailblazers who are working tirelessly to close the gap in breast cancer care for women of color.

Marissa Thomas: Empowering through community

Marissa Thomas is the visionary behind For the Breast of Us, a pioneering breast cancer community dedicated to women of color. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by women of color diagnosed with breast cancer, Thomas created a platform that offers support, resources, and advocacy. Through For the Breast of Us, Thomas ensures that women of color not only find a supportive community but also access vital information and representation that was previously lacking. The platform celebrates survivorship, provides educational resources, and fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment.

Ricki Fairley: Personal triumph to national advocate

After her own battle with breast cancer, Ricki Fairley turned her personal triumph into a nationwide call to action. She founded Touch, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance, which focuses on addressing the unique hurdles Black women face in the healthcare system. Fairley’s organization works on multiple fronts: increasing awareness, advocating for better access to care, and pushing for greater inclusion of Black women in clinical trials. Her tireless work underscores the importance of culturally competent care and the critical need for research that reflects the diversity of the population it aims to serve.

Dr. Alexea Gaffney: A doctor’s fight on the frontlines

Dr. Alexea Gaffney stands out as a beacon of hope and resilience. As a breast cancer survivor and a medical professional, she brings a unique perspective to the fight against racial disparities in healthcare. Her insightful contributions highlight the systemic barriers that contribute to the disparity gap for Black and Brown breast cancer patients. Dr. Gaffney’s advocacy extends beyond her personal journey; she is committed to educating healthcare providers and the public about the importance of culturally sensitive care and the need for diversity in clinical trials.

The work of Marissa Thomas, Ricki Farley, and Dr. Alexea Gaffney represents a crucial step towards bridging the gap in breast cancer care. Their dedication to advocacy, education, and representation is not just inspiring but also instrumental in catalyzing change. As we reflect on their contributions this Black History Month, let’s also commit to supporting efforts that ensure equitable healthcare for all. The fight against breast cancer is a collective one, and by acknowledging and addressing racial disparities, we move closer to a future where every woman, regardless of color, has the chance to fight and win.


Join the movement towards equitable breast cancer care with the Outcomes4Me app, where you can receive the latest personalized treatments and clinical trials. By downloading the app, you will have access to become part of our Black and Brown Thrivers community, a supportive network dedicated to empowering women of color facing breast cancer. Together, we’re stronger—stay informed, connected, and empowered in your journey towards health and advocacy. Let’s make a difference, one step at a time.

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