The American Cancer Society Announces Launch of VOICES of Black Women Study

May 8, 2024
The study plans to enroll more than 100,000 Black women to better understand the multi-level drivers of cancer incidence, mortality, and resilience within this demographic.

According to a May 7 press release, the American Cancer Society (ACS) announced the launch of the VOICES of Black Women study, the largest behavioral and environmental focused population study of cancer risk and outcomes in Black women in the United States.

The press release states, “Designed to better understand the multi-level drivers of cancer incidence, mortality and resilience within this demographic, the long-term study will gather valuable data from Black women between the ages of 25 and 55 from diverse backgrounds and income levels who have not been diagnosed with cancer. The organization aims to enroll over 100,000 Black women across 20 states and D.C. where, according to the U.S. Census, more than 90 percent of Black women in the U.S. reside.”

Despite the strides that the American Cancer Society has made in research, Black women continue to have the highest death rate and the shortest survival of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. for the majority of cancers.

The VOICES of Black Women study will be led by American Cancer Society researchers, Dr. Alpa Patel and Dr. Lauren McCullough and will partner with communities of Black women and cross-disciplinary experts in Black women’s health.

“VOICES of Black Women® represents a crucial step toward achieving health equity in a population that is long overdue,” said Patel, co-principal investigator of the study and senior vice president of population science at the American Cancer Society. “The data we’ve uncovered through previous population studies has been critical in reducing the unacceptably high burden of cancer, but that reduction has sadly not been equal. By centering Black women’s voices and experiences, we can dig deeper in uncovering the unique challenges and barriers contributing to cancer disparities and develop tailored interventions to mitigate them."

The release adds that “Recruitment for the study began in October 2023 with a pilot launch in Atlanta, GA and Hampton Roads, VA. The national launch expands enrollment to Alabama, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Eligible participants must identify as Black, be assigned female at birth or self-identify as women, not have a history of cancer (except basal or squamous skin cancer), and be between the ages of 25 and 55. Enrolled participants will provide informed consent and, over the span of 30 years, answer behavioral, environmental, and lived experience questions through periodic short surveys delivered via a secure online portal. No medication, clinical testing, treatment, or lifestyle changes are part of the study.”

About the Author

Janette Wider | Editor-in-Chief

Janette Wider is Editor-in-Chief for Healthcare Purchasing News.