Black Experience of Clinical Trials and Opportunities for Meaningful Engagement

Learn more and get involved with our collaborative projects to educate stakeholders, advance research, and connect people to resources that can improve outcomes.

BECOME – Black Experience of Clinical Trials and Opportunities for Meaningful Engagement

The BECOME Research Project aims to better represent Black people in cancer research by increasing access to clinical trials for MBC.

The data tells a disturbing story. In the U.S., the mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women with breast cancer is 40% higher than for non-Hispanic white women.1 And, while clinical trials help improve outcomes and survival, Black people represent only 3% to 6% of patients in all cancer clinical trials.2

How can we ensure Black people are better represented in cancer research? Finding the answer starts with patient voices.

Building on a 2019 project conducted by Marina Kaplan, an epidemiologist who lived with metastatic breast cancer, BECOME is a new research initiative designed to find solutions within the Black community. Using real-life patient input, BECOME looks for practical and actionable ways to make it easier for Black people living with MBC to take part in research trials. Your survey responses will help patients make more knowledgeable decisions, educate doctors on how to support patients in joining trials, and help researchers understand and design clinical trials in a way that encourages Black participation.


In memoriam: Marina Kaplan, 1962-2020

In 2019, epidemiologist and patient advocate, Marina Pomare Kaplan, presented a poster at SABCS on increasing participation in clinical trials: patient-driven solutions. Only 8.87% of survey respondents were Black, reflecting the current rate of Black clinical trial participation of about 6.2%.

Today, patient advocate Stephanie Walker and a diverse project team are carrying on Marina’s desire to conduct deeper research in the Black community on barriers to clinical trial participation by partnering with MBCA to launch the BECOME project. This patient-focused initiative reflects our belief that what impacts one, impacts all.

COVID-19’s impact and the success of Black Lives Matter makes now the right time for collaborative solutions. BECOME will help our members better educate patients and clinicians, and impact clinical trial design and recruitment to increase participation and representation of Black patients with MBC.


Join the MBC Alliance’s mailing list to get notified of the BECOME project findings when they are published, including actionable ways for healthcare providers and researchers to encourage Black participation in clinical trials.




“As a metastatic breast cancer patient, I don’t want my daughter to go through what I’ve experienced. I want to understand barriers to clinical trials for the Black community, so we can find answers on why Black men and women with MBC are dying at a faster rate.”

Stephanie Walker, BECOME Project Lead &
Patient Advocate Living with MBC


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