INDIANAPOLIS — Eli Lilly and Co. and Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, launched a new multi-year program to address breast cancer health disparities experienced by Black women in the U.S.
Through the partnership, Lilly and Komen will expand existing resources that provide direct support to Black women facing breast cancer to meet their psychosocial needs, provide guidance to credible health information, and access to local services and resources. The partnership will also provide culturally competent patient navigators who will help guide Black women living with breast cancer through the complex health care system to help ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.
Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women due to a combination of factors, including barriers to early diagnosis, the aggressive nature of certain breast cancers that are more prevalent in Black women (e.g., triple-negative breast cancer), genetics (e.g., mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes), lack of quality care, discrimination and systemic racism, according to Lilly and Komen.
Chaunté Lowe, American record holder in high jump and mother of three, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that disproportionately affects Black women and has felt the impact of these inequities in her own breast cancer experience.
“Too many Black women are facing potentially life-changing obstacles to getting the information, care, and support they need while living with breast cancer. These women, their families, and the communities that surround them feel the devastating impact when they don’t have an equal chance to live longer, healthier lives,” said Chaunté Lowe. “I’m proud to team up with Lilly and Komen to bring more resources and support tailored for Black women impacted by breast cancer. This partnership is about action, goals, and progress — as an athlete, mom, Black woman, and survivor, this is the type of teamwork I feel we need to challenge and change the status quo.”
The Komen and Lilly partnership will focus on three key areas to bring immediate and sustainable support to the Black community. The Komen patient navigation program includes highly trained, community-based Black patient navigators who understand the barriers faced by Black women, know how to navigate the health care system, and guide individuals to care and support in their local community. The goal of patient navigation is to eliminate obstacles to quality care and improve breast health outcomes by keeping people in the continuum of care.
The partnership with Lilly will enable Komen to expand the program in Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis — all cities where disparities in breast cancer outcomes experienced by Black women are prevalent.
“We are thankful to our partners at Lilly for joining with us to take concrete action to create breast health equity in these communities and across the U.S.,” said Paula Schneider, Komen’s president and CEO. “Health equity means more than saying everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy, it’s about working together to remove obstacles and eliminate disparities so that health equity is a top priority and can become a reality for Black women.”
Building on the national reach of this partnership, the Komen Breast Care Helpline will continue to provide support by highly trained oncology social workers, including emotional support, breast cancer and clinical trials information and educational materials, and referrals to resources.
“Lilly is committed to helping address systemic inequities in health, including those in complex diseases such as breast cancer, that too often have devastating effects on the lives of Black women and their families,” said Dr. Stacy Moulder, senior medical director of Lilly Oncology. “Our partnership with Susan G. Komen will help bring tailored, relevant resources to Black women living with breast cancer to help eliminate barriers to the health information, quality care and treatment, and holistic support services they need.”