Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 729–743 | Cite as

An overview of the unique challenges facing African-American breast cancer survivors

  • Marium HusainEmail author
  • Timiya S. Nolan
  • Kevin Foy
  • Raquel Reinbolt
  • Cassandra Grenade
  • Maryam Lustberg
Review Article



The existence of cancer disparities is well known. Focus on alleviating such disparities centers on diagnosis, treatment, and mortality. This review surveyed current knowledge of health disparities that exist in the acute survivorship period (immediately following diagnosis and treatment) and their contributors, particularly for African-American breast cancer survivors (AA-BCS).


Utilizing the ASCO four components of survivorship care, we explore disparities in surveillance and effects of cancer and therapies that AA-BCS face within the acute survivorship period (the years immediately following diagnosis). A literature review of PUBMED, Scopus, and Cochrane databases was conducted to identify articles related to AA-BCS acute survivorship. The search yielded 97 articles. Of the 97 articles, 38 articles met inclusion criteria.


AA-BCS experience disparate survivorship care, which negatively impacts quality of life and health outcomes. Challenges exist in surveillance, interventions for late effects (e.g., quality-of-life outcomes, cardiotoxicity, and cognitive changes), preventing recurrence with promotion of healthy living, and coordinating care among the healthcare team.


This overview identified current knowledge on the challenges in survivorship among AA-BCS. Barriers to optimal survivorship care inhibit progress in eliminating breast cancer disparities. Research addressing best practices for survivorship care is needed for this population. Implementation of culturally tailored care may reduce breast cancer disparities among AA-BCS.


Breast cancer Acute survivorship Health disparities African-American Cultural competence 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no financial disclosures. There are no companies that have sponsored this research. The authors have full control of all primary data, and we agree to allow the journal to review any data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Medical OncologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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