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    VOICES of Black Women

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | July 7th, 2024

    VOICES of Black Women

    Why do black women have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers?

    Why are Black women under the age of 50 twice as likely to die of breast cancer than White women?

    Why does lung cancer remain the second leading cancer diagnosed and the second leading cause of cancer death in Black women?

    Why are Black women 8% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than White women but 12% more likely to die if diagnosed?

    Why is the overall life expectancy of Black women 77.9 years compared with 81.0 years for White women?

    Is it because of:

    • Individual and systemic racism
    • Comorbid medical conditions
    • Biology
    • Lifestyle/behaviors/environment
    • Social determinants of health
    • Access to high-quality cancer screening and follow-up
    • Types of Insurance

    The answer is that we need to develop a more thorough understanding, which is why the VOICES of BLACK WOMEN research study sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS) is important. When ACS first approached me to be an ambassador for this study, I was initially hesitant. I wanted to learn more before making a commitment. However, after reading about the study and its potential impact on the health of Black women, I knew I had to be involved. I was also impressed by ACS’s dedication and commitment to the cause.  By participating in this study, we can improve the health of Black women for generations to come. Your participation may include:

    • Enrolling in the study.
    • Being an ambassador like myself (I am older than the stated age for enrollment).
    • Sharing the information.

    The goal is to enroll at least 100,000 Black women.  VOICES of Black Women is enrolling people who:

    • Are biologically female or identify as a woman
    • Identify as Black
    • Do not have a history of cancer (except basal or squamous skin cancer)
    • Are between the ages of 25 and 55 years
    • Live in one of the study enrollment states (20 states and Washington D.C)

    Everything is done online. You will fill out information about yourself and complete a survey. After the initial survey, you will complete a survey twice a year for the next 30 years.

    I have spoken to my daughters and some friends, and here are some of the questions I have been asked so far:

    Do we get paid for this? No, you will only get paid if you are asked to do a particular focus group survey outside of the two you will do annually. Most participants in large studies do not get paid. The Women Health Initiative Study, which gave us insight into hormones in menopause, did not pay anyone. If you choose to do this study, you will be volunteering your time to make a difference for future generations.

    Why is it 30 years? It takes time to find out what is causing our health disparities. The Nurses’ Health Study, established in 1976, is still being conducted. The study uncovered the link between cigarette smoking and heart disease and the link between being obese when you are postmenopausal and breast cancer. By joining VOICES of Black Women, we will be able to determine what factors genuinely contribute to health disparity among Black women.

    What about women who do not have a computer? It is totally online, so you can use your mobile phone. I would also suggest you go to your local library. They often have computers that their patrons can access.

    THIS STUDY IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US, even if you are not eligible to enroll. As mentioned earlier, you can share the information with those who may be eligible. You may even choose to volunteer at the American Cancer Society and become an ambassador. I am excited about this study and am so grateful to the American Cancer Society for its investment.

    For more information about VOICES of Black Women, please click here.

    Please feel free to contact me at drngozi@ngoziosuagwumd if you have any questions that are not answered on the website or if you just want to learn more.

    One Response to “VOICES of Black Women”

    1. Linda K. Jackson says:

      I’m too old for the survey!!!!!!! Hmph….Pfft….. lol

    Leave a Reply

    Secure Your Copy of Sincerely, Your Gynecologist by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.
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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.
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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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