We had the good fortune of connecting with Bikira Radcliffe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bikira, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
United Colors of Cancer (UCC) helps the underserved Black and Brown cancer community to receive access to culturally competent support by providing information, resources, and direct peer-to-peer services with the more significant aim of improving Black and Brown cancer outcomes. We started this organization because no one else was focusing on the global Black and Brown cancer community. There are particular disease-specific organizations for things like Black breast cancer, Latina cancer, or Black colon cancer. Still, no one looked at the Black and Brown cancer community, irrespective of disease specificity. And so, we are the first U.S based nonprofit for the global BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) cancer community, bringing all the disease-specific groups together for one common goal: better cancer outcomes for ALL.
We are …
United Colors of Cancer
Bridging the health divide BECAUSE cancer is NOT colorblind
What should our readers know about your business?
“According to the American Cancer Society, about 224,080 new cancer cases and 33% of cancer deaths are expected to occur among Black people in 2022. Black people have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial/ethnic group in the United States for most cancers. For example, Black women are 41% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, despite a lower incidence of the disease. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 20% of deaths.” These are cancer disparities clearly illustrated, and we exist to ensure that the Black and Brown cancer community is seen, supported, respected, and heard. Our stories and cancer experience are unique. As one participant
said, “UCC is for us, by us, and allows me to speak to the racism I have experienced with cancer…”
Readers should also be aware of the impact the overturning of Roe v Wade is already having on the cancer community and the BIPOC cancer community in particular. Did you know that post-cancer fertility options are directly affected by the overturning of Roe v Wade? Some persons froze embryos in trigger law states that are now frantically trying to relocate their embryos as they do not know what the disposition of embryos is as the trigger laws go into effect. As a result, many would-be parents, who are already dealing with cancer, are now also faced with finding a new resting place for their beloved embryos… This is heartbreaking, and we will not sit back and do nothing. We are fundraising to offer financial assistance specifically for embryos to be moved from jeopardy states to haven states.
Finally, readers should know that we will be producing an annual State of BIPOC Cancer Report starting next year. We are in the early stages, right now, of developing partnerships with organizations to help us collect more accurate BIPOC data so that doctors and patients, and lawmakers have the critical information they need to make informed decisions and save lives. Readers should also be on the lookout for Mama’s Table, our virtual support group, and our upcoming Mosaic Conference, which will bring everyone in the BIPOC cancer universe together, under one roof, to forge a shared vision and common agenda.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?The Getty Center is a must-stop for its incredible views and museums in Los Angeles. I would then take them to Little Ethiopia to have some traditional injera and awaze tibs, my fave. After that, we might take a short road trip to Balboa Island for a little shopping and strolling near the beach, and then maybe finish off the day with some local antiquing and street tacos. Gotta say that is a good day.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shout out to my sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. My membership in this organization has shaped my leadership skills, broadened my community, and given me the boldness to launch United Colors of Cancer.