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Facts & Resources

“Breast cancer isn’t one single disease.  It affects women of different populations in different ways,” says Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade, hematology oncologist at the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics, University of Chicago Medical Center.  Indeed, breast cancer is not a “one size fits all” illness. Black women develop breast cancer at a rate similar to White women.  However, Black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate.  Medical science is unsure why, although several factors come into play.
Physical and mental environments are different for Black women than for White women: 

Black hair care products containing estrogen or placenta are being looked at as one factor; estrogen levels affect a woman’s breast cancer risk.  Read about Dr. Devra David’s research on black hair and cosmetics products at the University of Pittsburgh.

Medical family history plays an important role in breast cancer risk, especially for women of color: (What are BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes? Read more)

Learn about triple negative breast cancer and Black women.  Triple negative tumors lack receptors for three hormones.  These tumors are very aggressive, difficult to treat, and disproportionately affect Black women.  A study at Boston University recently showed 30% of Black women had this triple negative breast cancer.  Read about African American, Dr. Lisa Newman, director of the Breast Cancer Center at the University of Michigan and her trip to Ghana while studying triple negative breast cancer. 
Brisk exercise and healthy eating can reduce your breast cancer risk: 


BOOKS (at the Boston Public Library)

After Breast Cancer:  A Common-Sense Guide to Life After Treatment

The Breast Cancer Survivor’s Fitness Plan: Reclaim Health, Regain Strength,   Live Longer
Courage Muscle: A Chicken’s Guide to Living with Breast Cancer                                          

Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer: A Companion for Women on the Breast
Cancer Journey

I’m Too Young to Have Breast Cancer! Regain Control of Your Life, Career,
Family, Sexuality, and Faith

Mayo Clinic’s Guide to Women’s Cancers  

*List compiled by the Mattapan Branch of the Boston Public Library*


Boston Medical Center Day Group, 2nd Monday of each month,
Contact Bob David: 617-638-7540

Boston Medical Center Evening Group, 1st Tuesday of each month,
Contact Megan Eldridge: 617-414-0975

Massachusetts General Hospital
Contact Corinne Holbrook: 617-724-3956

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Contact: 617-632-3301

YWCA/Spirit Wise Sisters
Contact Hope White: 617-585-5473


African American Breast Cancer Alliance

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: