Accessibility Statement

New Lilly Breast Cancer Campaign Focuses on Black Women

September 29, 2022    Posted by: Eli Lilly and Company


Black women with breast cancer are 40 percent more likely to die from the disease than white women. In fact, breast cancer kills more Black women than any other racial group in the U.S.

Yet when these same women are seeking information about the disease, they often don’t see themselves represented.

That’s an urgent call to action for Lilly employees Madeline Harrison and Marcus Tyler, marketers in Lilly’s Consumer Experience Hub. Seeking to better understand the breast cancer journeys of Black women, their research uncovered key insights that have shaped a new Lilly patient education campaign — focusing specifically on Black women with breast cancer.

Their interviews with patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers across the U.S. focused on their lived experiences with breast cancer. 

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“Black women told us that the imagery they'd historically seen around breast cancer was not inclusive of their lifestyles," Tyler said. "Secondly, Black women are not wholly dependent on husbands, partners, or even their children for support. Often the primary caregiver or go-to person is another Black woman who they look to as a pillar of strength, trust and support through their journey.” 

“Living with breast cancer often means being relentless,” Tyler said. “We want the characters in the campaign to be relatable to Black women who may be overwhelmed with society repeatedly telling them how strong they are. We heard in qualitative research groups that sometimes this perceived extraordinary strength worked against them in the experiences they had with being diagnosed, dealing with symptoms, and receiving satisfactory care.”

Harrison's mother survived an aggressive form of breast cancer and had ample resources available. Harrison, who is white, was prompted to focus on helping patients who may not be having their needs met with the available resources by arming Black women with the information they need, from resources to treatment options.

That includes a collaboration with VeryWell Health to launch its first-ever Black Health Spotlight on Breast Cancer. The platform highlights health disparities experienced by Black women and provides resources written by Black and diverse health experts.

“We see the disparities and we want to change them,” explained Harrison, whose mother has been in remission for six years. “We want to meet Black women living with breast cancer at the table and educate them on what to expect, what a diagnosis means, and help them understand treatment options, as authentically as possible.”