By Simina Boca and Alejandra Hurtado de Mendoza

For the past several months, the COVID-19 epidemic has been wreaking havoc on societies and communities throughout the world. Many authorities have implemented counter-disease measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, ranging from social distancing recommendations to lockdowns. Due to social determinants of health, including discrimination, low health care access and utilization, occupation, and housing, Black/African American and Latinx/Hispanic individuals are more likely to suffer and die from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Breast cancer survivors have specific additional challenges, given that they are already in a vulnerable position from a physical and emotional point of view and due to the treatment delays they experienced during the pandemic.

The Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF) and Nueva Vida (NV) are community-based organizations that use culturally sensitive approaches to reduce cancer incidence and mortality, especially among the Black/African American and Latinx/Hispanic underserved communities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, these organizations have worked tirelessly to respond to the needs of the community caused by the pandemic, including with initiatives to decrease food insecurity. The TDJBCF and NV also believe in the importance of engaging underserved communities in research to make sure that they also benefit from the research findings. For this reason, they are now partnering with Georgetown University to study the impact of COVID-19 and disease countermeasures on Black/African American and Latinx/Hispanic breast cancer survivors in the Washington D.C. area, in order to develop culturally sensitive educational materials to provide information targeted to these communities.

Our study will assess the challenges encountered by Black/African American and Latinx/Hispanic breast cancer survivors by conducting a survey asking questions related to physical, psychological, social, and financial well-being, as well as interviews to obtain a more in-depth understanding of the impact of COVID-19. Participants will receive a $30 gift card for completing the survey and a $10 gift card for participating in or completing the interview as compensation for their time. The results will be analyzed and used to develop online educational resources to provide information for breast cancer survivors during this pandemic.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, identify as Black/African American or Latinx/Hispanic, and are interested in participating in this study, contact Thelma D. Jones from the TDJBCF at thelma@tdjbreastcancerfund.org or (202) 251-1639 or Claudia Campos from NV at ccampos@nueva-vida.org or (202) 384-8342. Your participation can help your community!

Dr. Simina Boca is an Associate Professor and Alejandra Hurtado de Mendoza is an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

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