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California volunteers needed for study aimed at better understanding cancer among Black women

New study aims at better understanding cancer among Black women
New study aims at better understanding cancer among Black women 02:05

SACRAMENTO – A landmark study just kicked off with the goal of answering why Black women have a much higher mortality rate when it comes to cancer. It just launched last week and they need volunteers in California to help.

The study is named VOICES of Black Women and it aims to promote just that.

"For most types of cancer, Black women actually have the highest death rate and shortest survival of most types of cancer compared to other racial/ethnic populations," said Dr. Apla Patel with the American Cancer Society. 

The question is "Why?" The long-term study by the American Cancer Society 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 goal is to enroll over 100,000 Black women across 20 states, including California and D.C., where, according to the U.S. Census, more than 90% of Black women in the U.S. reside.

"Medicine is constantly evolving and again when we look at who's in those studies that are helping us learn about how to treat cancers and other health outcomes differently we have to look at the makeup of those populations," Dr. Patel said.

Officials want to better understand how factors like biology, lifestyle and behaviors, and access to quality treatment affect Black women.

"There may be environmental differences, there may be differences based on where you live and lifestyle behaviors and other factors," Dr. Patel said. 

The study will last decades and will provide information that can save lives for generations to come.

"There's a lot of inequities around how cancer is developing and how it is affecting Black women that we will be able to learn through this study," Dr. Patel said.

Enrollment for the study launched last week and more information is available online.

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