My Best Breast Cancer Friends Are Black

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has brought me closer than ever to my African American friends. It is the most aggressive breast cancer with the fewest treatment options, and highly prevalent among African American women.1 It is also the subtype of breast cancer that I have been living with since I was diagnosed with metastatic disease in November 2018.

Triple-negative breast cancer

TNBC exposes our collective humanity and vulnerability. It is a true menace and a threat. If there is any silver lining of my diagnosis, it is that it has made my bond with my African American friends in the breast cancer community – my "Black breasties" — stronger than ever. I have been reflecting on these friendships given George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests. We live in a world with so much hate and divisiveness. Yet my "Black breasties" literally walk with me and surround me with love and I love them back, to no end. I feel so much love that it is so hard for me to comprehend the depth of hate that persists today.

Learning new things

My "Black breasties" help me every day to live with my breast cancer. They:

  • Taught me to pray
  • Make me feel connected and that I am part of something bigger
  • Filled me with hope
  • Never stop fighting for me and with me
  • Nourish my soul

Words elude me as I try to describe my "Black breasties." So I will rely on photos to communicate the connection:
These photos are from the Komen 3 day in San Diego California, September 2019. Our team was "Triple Positive" – as we strive to put a positive spin on triple-negative breast cancer.

4 friends at a breast cancer advocacy event

Alyson and her friends at breast cancer event

2 friends at a breast cancer event in san diego

4 friends posing in a frame at a breast cancer event

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to share that on Friday, April 9th, 2021, Alyson Tischler passed away. We know that Alyson’s advocacy efforts continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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