Who Are We?
We are research team based upon a community and academic partnership. Our team includes researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center, community leaders, breast cancer survivors, healthcare providers, and patient advocates, many of whom are members of the Black community. This partnership has been instrumental in the development of our educational materials to improve the awareness about inherited breast and ovarian cancer in African American women. In addition, through our research studies, we are interested in learning more about why young black women are developing breast cancer.
What does B-GREAT Stand for?
B-GREAT is an acronym for Breast Cancer Genetics Research and Education for African American Women Team. The “team” represents the academic-community partnership (consisting of community leaders and researchers) that was developed to address breast cancer health disparities in Black women.
The B-GREAT Program seeks to educate and inform the African American community about the role of genes in breast and ovarian cancer that “runs in families.” By increasing knowledge about hereditary breast cancer, we strive to empower those at risk to make the most informed decisions regarding their health care options.
Why are we interested in Breast Cancer in Black women?
African American women are more likely to develop breast cancer at younger ages compared to women from other races and ethnicities.
7-10% of all breast and ovarian cancers are caused by changes in breast/ovarian cancer genes (called BRCA1 and BRCA2) which are passed from one generation to the next.
Historically, African American women have been less likely to participate in and benefit from genetic counseling and testing for breast cancer genes.
Erika Stallings is originally from North Carolina and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Georgetown University Law Center. She currently works as a litigation and intellectual property associate at Akerman LLP.
In the summer of 2014, Erika underwent genetic testing and learned that she was the carrier of a BRCA2 mutation, which gave her a 60-70% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. In December 2014, she underwent a preventative double mastectomy and lowered her risk of developing breast cancer to less than 5%. Since then she uses her spare time to educate other young women about risk factors for breast cancer and ways to be proactive about their health.
Please visit this link to read her recent article outlining the importance of genetic testing for inherited cancer predisposition among Black women, in which results from our recently published study were included. Please also watch her interview here, which addresses some of the topics from the article.