Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. One reason may be that they face economic and cultural barriers to taking the medications that can prevent recurrence.
When she was in graduate school for public health, Niasha Fray found a job she loved: counseling women with breast cancer about sticking to their treatment.
She offered what’s called “motivational interviewing,” a type of therapy intended to help women overcome obstacles keeping them from taking their medications — which can have unpleasant side effects
“They had just given up so much of their lives, so much of their bodies, so much of their family,” Fray says. “They wanted to get back to life as usual.”
Fray was doing the counseling as part of research into disparities in cancer outcomes at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Then in 2017, Fray found a lump in her breast. Suddenly, she was the patient.
And all of her work helping women — particularly black women, who are more likely to die from breast cancer than their white counterparts — became very personal.
” ‘Please take care of yourself. Please remember to slow down.’ These were things that I had told many women,” Fray says. “Sometimes we’re our own worst patients.”
|Read on: One Reason Breast Cancer Is More Lethal For Black Women|