Maricia Cole was an otherwise healthy young mother when she was diagnosed with Stage 2 HER2+ breast cancer at the age of 36. She is now in remission following chemo, surgery, and radiation and she wants anyone listening to know they are not alone in the fight against breast cancer.
Along with several other Tigerlily ANGEL Advocates, Maricia attended the SABCS Special Session: Trust in Science and Healthcare Co-Hosted by Maimah Karmo and Dr. Charles Perou. This session featured speakers: Dr. Erica Stringer-Reasor, Dr. Eric Winer, Dr. Amelie Ramirez, Dr. Melissa Davis, Sophia George, Dr. Lori Wilson, and Patient Advocates: Thelma Perry Brown, Ysabel Duron, Ashley Dedmon, Darcy Babage. We asked Maricia to share her thoughts and notes from the session from her point of view as a Patient Advocate.
Tigerlily Foundation: Maricia, tell us why were you interested in participating in SABCS?
Maricia Cole: I’ve heard so many good things about SABCS and wanted to see for myself. I want to be a voice for young Black Women with early stage breast cancer so they know they are not alone and that there are resources for them.
Tigerlily Foundation: That’s amazing! What are you looking forward to learning at SABCS?
Maricia Cole: I like statistics. Numbers don’t lie. In general, I’m looking to learn more statistical information about breast cancer patients
Tigerlily Foundation: If you could summarize this session briefly, what would you describe as your main takeaways?
Maricia Cole: This session really highlighted how trust in science can be built. The discussion was very powerful from our very own Maimah Karmo as a Moderator, as well as from Physician and Breast Cancer Survivor herself, Dr. Lori Wilson, and patient advocates like Na’Diah Smith and Ashley Dedmon. The session was great. One of my main takeaways was how important it is for everyone to have equitable care. Equal care = equal outcomes, thus reducing the huge gap in mortality rates of minority communities.
Tigerlily Foundation: So what did you get out of that session?
Maricia Cole: The background was about how we can come to a solution to improve trust in science. What do we do next?
Tigerlily Foundation: What parts of the continuum of care were addressed in this session?
Maricia Cole: Education, diagnosis, and survivorship were addressed
Tigerlily Foundation: Did you find that disparities were discussed or addressed? How so?
Maricia Cole: Yes, it was a large part of the conversation. Especially financial disparities.
Tigerlily Foundation: Was the presentation inclusive or represent voices and issues from patients of color? Young patients? Patients living with MBC (Metastatic Breast Cancer)?
Maricia Cole: Yes, the physician who began the session, Dr. Lori Wilson was diagnosed with MBC, so she is a patient as well as a physician. The patient advocates were young and of color. Inclusivity was prevalent in this session.
Tigerlily Foundation: Was your perspective influenced in any way after the session? If so, how?
Maricia Cole: Yes, my perspective was influenced in a positive way to continue the fight. Because we truly have so many people who are on the same page and ready to do the work in order to improve the overall trust in science. Especially in clinical trials, thus reducing death rates among minority communities for patients with breast cancers.
This content is sponsored by our Partners at Seagen, Pfizer, and Puma Biotechnology.
Speakers for this SBACS Special Series Included: Lori L. Wilson, MD, Associate Dean of Diversity and Faculty Development, Howard University College of Medicine, Deborah Stroman PhD, UNC Health Equity and Social Justice, Lisa C. Richardson, MD, Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC, Olufunmilayo I. Olopade, MD, FACP, Director, University of Chicago, Daniel Calac, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Indian Health Council, Inc, George Sledge, Jr., MD, Professor of Medicine (Oncology), Stanford Cancer Center, Melissa B. Davis, PhD, Associated Professor in Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine, Darcy Burbage, DNP, RN, AOCN, Na’Diah Smith, Patient Advocate, Aliya Whipple, Patient Advocate, Lauren Candies Tarpley, AYA Breast Cancer advocate, Published Author, Erica Stringer-Reasor, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director Breast Cancer Program, University of Alabama – Birmingham, Eric P. Winer, MD, Chief, Division of Breast Oncology Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., Chair, Department of Population Health Sciences, UT Health San Antonio, Elena Martinez, PhD, Professor UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, Sophia George, PhD, Research Associate Professor, University of Miami Cancer Center, Thelma Brown, Patient Advocate, Ysabel Duron, Patient Advocate, and Ashley Dedmon, Patient Advocate.