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Black Cancer

Black Cancer

By Jodi-Ann Burey
Black Cancer explores the cancer journeys of everyday people of color. Host Jodi-Ann Burey weaves a narrative about race, health, and life and helps listeners discover the wisdom trauma can bring.
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Am I Going to Die Today? (with Dr. Virtaj Singh, M.D.)

Black Cancer

It's Not Enough to Say We Survived (with Darcie Green)
Our guest on today’s episode is Darcie Green, who brings multiple identities to our conversation today. She’s the daughter of a survivor, care giver, advocate, activist and the Executive Director of Latinas Contra Cancer. Latinas Contra Cancer is an organization with a mission to create an inclusive health care system that provides services to the underserved Latino population around issues of breast and other cancers. She’s incredibly smart, so funny, and we had A LOT to talk about. This is the last episode of Season 2 of Black Cancer, and it exemplifies everything we’ve talked about on this platform AND more - more like understanding cancer through a social justice lens, examining the disproportionate philanthropic funding for organizations led by people of color and what our communities STILL do despite structural under-resourcing that determines our health. P.S. This episode aired the day the United States surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths - half a million people. Disproportionately Black and Brown people. The racial inequities of the life-saving vaccine roll out was absolutely top of our minds - which is why this conversation started A BIT before I even had my microphone set up for our recording! hahaha. You won’t want to miss a single moment of this episode. It’s truly a master class in understanding so many dynamics of cancer care - and what we can learn about the interconnectedness of what care can look like for all our people. And as always, check out the show notes for links to what we talked about. Here’s my conversation with Darcie: Darcie shares about how her father's journey grounded her work in community health advocacy (47:51) The strengths and expertise in self and communal advocacy already held in our communities (1:12:00) Disproportionality in funding and support for organizations led by and that serve communities of color (1:36:53) More on this episode: Good Samaritan Hospital in California: Washington Heights Armory in NYC: Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care by Dayna Bowen Matthew — Social Determinants of Health: Latinas Contra Cancer website: Latinas Contra Cancer Instagram: Promatoras:
February 23, 2021
Holding Space for Yourself (with Marissa Thomas)
Our guest on today’s episode is Marissa Thomas, breast cancer survivor (stage 2 estrogen positive) and founder of For the Breast of Us, a breast cancer community for women of color. You know, after I received my diagnosis, it took a few weeks before I texted my doctor, “wait, do I have cancer?” It was after that I started to search for online cancer forums - of any kind, to help make sense of my experience. And, let me tell you, ah - it provided so much relief. Well, up until a point. Being a woman of color is always the lens through which I experience the world and I just couldn’t find anything - anything at all, that could meet me there. I’m so glad For the Breast of Us exists now, because I for sure could have used it back then. A space, similar to this podcast, to be in community with other folks of color grappling with the intricacies of grief, support, and needing to be seen in a system that wasn’t designed to see us. Where else but on our platforms can you engage in a conversation about how lotion saves lives? You’ll have to wait for the last third of the show to get that! P.S. There’s a story at the end where I basically admit that I”m a terrible human being. Don’t come for me. We all have our journey towards growth and enlightenment. Highlights from our conversation: Figuring out whether to disclose racial microaggressions with your providers (10:25) Marissa shares about meeting Cristina, another young mother battling cancer (40:59) Navigating her cancer journey with a teenaged son (1:04:53) More from this episode: For the Breast of Us: For the Beast of Us - Instagram: Baddies Talk Back: The Burden of Being Strong - Vanessa Bryant’s Instagram Post on Grief: Follow Black Cancer at and on Instagram at @_black_cancer.  Learn more about creator and host Jodi-Ann Burey at Transcripts will be available on the website a week after the episode airs.
February 15, 2021
My Desire is to Stay Here (with Angela Thomas)
Welcome to Black Cancer, a podcast about the nuances of our lives as people of color told through our cancer journeys. I'm your host, Jodi-Ann Burey. And talk about nuances. Our guest on today’s episode is Angela Thomas, a nurse, mother and woman of faith who laced up her gloves and kicked cancer in the ass. What I love about being a person of color is our rich tradition of storytelling. It’s alive in our communities and most importantly, keeps our communities alive. Angela’s storytelling grounds us in the value of time. We interrogate the notion of “leaving everything up to God” and how that works alongside using her faith, we talk about her path to diagnosis, the actual logistics of preparing for the worst, learning to say no, our hair, our dreams, and so much. So much more. You’re in for a treat until the very end. Before we get started, just a heads up. This was recorded in Decemeber 2020 a time when we were both still really impacted by Dr. Susan Moore’s experience battling COVID-19.
February 8, 2021
Nobody But Me (with Angelica Garcia)
Welcome to Black Cancer, a podcast about the nuances of our lives as people of color told through our cancer journeys. I'm your host, Jodi-Ann Burey. On today’s show, Angelica Garcia joins me to talk about self-advocacy as women of color and how sustaining that work needs to be. For ourselves and for our familes in the US and abroad. We learn about Angelica through her experiences caring for her cousin’s cancer journey in the US, her father’s cancer journey in Colombia, and then her own years old cancer scare coming back to haunt her - right at the start of a pandemic. Where do we put our energy and focus as we navigate the challenges in our lives? How do we integrate our identities with our traumas? Here's my conversation with Angelica: How sharing our stories connects us with others (8:06) Angelica finds out she had to have her thyroid removed(27:47) Finding out that her father was sick with cancer in Colombia (50:50)
February 1, 2021
Proud Beautiful (with Michelle Audoin)
Welcome to Black Cancer. I’m creator and host, Jodi-Ann Burey. Today’s guest is Michelle Audoin. Her journey with her body and her breasts started when she was just 14 years old. How do those moments of fright and trauma come back to us years later? What do we learn about not only accepting our bodies, but defending our bodies against racism articulated as disbelief and erasure? Well, it’s a journey. And you can learn more about Michelle’s journey and how she created the Breast Recognition Project - a beautiful catalogue of the mastectomy scars of women of color… in just a few moments. But before we get started, I have to remind you to check the show notes for links to these amazing photos and the stories of the women. Here’s an overview of our conversation: Michelle recounts the impact of finding a lump in her breasts at age 14 (10:40) "I don't care what you say, the breasts need to go" - Michelle after her first diagnosis (31:15) Michelle dreams up the Breast Recognition Project and brings it to life (52:07) More from this episode: More about Michelle’s cancer journey: The Breast Recognition Project: Photographer for the Breast Recognition Project, Nicole Simmons: Follow Black Cancer at and on Instagram at @_black_cancer.  Learn more about creator and host Jodi-Ann Burey at Transcripts will be available on the website a week after the episode airs.
January 25, 2021
Am I Going to Die Today? (with Dr. Virtaj Singh, M.D.)
Welcome to Black Cancer. I’m creator and host, Jodi-Ann Burey. And this episode, well, I’m kinda the guest too? A little yes and no. Today’s guest is Dr. Virtaj Singh, M.D. He’s my physiatrist, who also has a sub specialty in pain. After two years in and out of doctor’s offices, I found myself in his, and a year later, he’s the one who ordered the MRI that found the tumor in my spine. This is the first episode of Black Cancer that’s about my own story. It’s also the first episode that does a really deep dive on a diagnosis journey. Mine. And I hope this can be an offering that finding a care provider that provides, well… care… is possible. Normally, when I title each episode, I use an illustrative phrase from one of our guests. But this time, the title, “Am I Going to Die Today?” came from me. In editing this episode, I realized how many times I looked to Dr. Singh to answer that question. I realized how many times I had to sincerely ask myself that question. Is the tumor going to kill me? Is the surgery going to kill me? Is this depression going to cause me to kill myself? Are the cops, when encountering a women crying about all these questions swarming her head, going to kill me first? Fearing for our bodies and our right to live seems to be the condition of Black life. And I am tired. How Dr. Singh has and continues to show up for me gives my mind a place to rest. He’s someone I can trust. Who - as you will see - says things straight. And who has my back. Get it? Spine joke. Here’s an overview of our conversation: How racism might have impacted Jodi-Ann’s path to diagnosis (9:01) What happened when Jodi-Ann stopped going to Dr. Singh’s clinic (24:43) How the healthcare industry needs to confront racism systemically (1:18:31) More about this episode: What’s a physiatrist? Cubital tunnel syndrome Thoracic outlet syndrome Electromyography (EMG) Jedi public health: Co-creating an identity-safe culture to promote health equity Hotel that kicked Jodi-Ann out for crying : Best Western Sandpoint Idaho (F them) Follow Black Cancer at and on Instagram at @_black_cancer.  Learn more about creator and host Jodi-Ann Burey at Transcripts will be available on the website a week after the episode airs.
January 18, 2021
What We Do For Our Bodies (with Dr. Kavita Jackson, M.D.)
Our guest on today’s episode is Dr. Kavita Jackson - breast cancer warrior M.D. We talk about her experience from launching her career as an emergency room physician to facing Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma - breast cancer. A mother of two small children, the daughter of immigrants from India. She draws on the strength of those who support her to navigate treatment and her relationship with her body. We work through understanding that our mind and our bodies - they’re fighting the same war. To heal ourselves. After the credits, stay on for a few more moments to listen to Dr. Jackson and I discuss cancer swag, the concept of corporate pink washing, and negotiating potential silver linings - if we can call them that - to our respective cancer journeys. Just a heads up. This conversation was recorded before the death of Dr. Susan Moore. The physician who, before she succumbed to COVID-19, posted videos online about the racism she experienced by the hospital team where she was being treated. I say this because we touch on a few topics in this conversation that we would have likely brought that up. We’re not NOT talking about it. When these conversations are recorded and when they’re posted may be achronological with current events. You can follow Dr. Kavita Jackson on Instagram at @drkavitajackson. Here’s an overview of our conversation: How our immigrant parents raise the bar for our possibilities (11:30) Dr. Jackson uncovers her fears about chemotherapy (22:22) Learning about what justice and equity look like in our bodies (53:34) Follow Black Cancer at and on Instagram at @_black_cancer.  Learn more about creator and host Jodi-Ann Burey at Transcripts will be available on the website a week after the episode airs. 
January 11, 2021
The Greatest Ode to Her Sacrifice (with Janice Omadeke)
Welcome to the 2nd Season of Black Cancer! I’m creator and host, Jodi-Ann Burey. Before we get started, I just want to thank you so much for being here. Seriously. This podcast is about you. It’s about giving yourself the space to maybe see yourself and your own experiences in new ways. It’s about finding new language to support the people you love. It’s about creating new spaces of vulnerability for us as Black and brown people to be ourselves. Imagine. So thank you for taking the time to be you. Our guest on today’s show is Janice Omadeke, the Founder and CEO of The Mentor Method, who found herself accelerating her business and managing the grief of her mother’s passing to pancreatic cancer at the same time. In this episode, we talk about our duty as the children of immigrants to actualize more than what our parents dreamed of for our lives, how we at times must split ourselves to be strong, and arduous, but necessary processes of grief. Grief how it looks, feels, and sounds like to us.  Learn more: Janice’s company, The Mentor Method: Janice Omadeke’s TEDx Talk: Dorothy Norwood’s song, “Somebody Prayed for Me”: Transcripts will be available soon at Learn more about Jodi-Ann at
January 4, 2021
I Can’t Be the Only One Who’s Going Through This (with Jared)
In this episode of Black Cancer, Jared shares a story layered with multiple narratives one on top of the other. An unprecedented public health crisis, an unexpected cancer diagnosis and Jared’s father’s unwelcoming reaction to his engagement announcement to his long time partner. There are a lot of questions that just don’t have answers in how to make sense of it all. That’s because this is Jared’s life. In real time.  Oftentimes, survivors and “the survived” talk about cancer in the present tense because its impacts are always with us. But Jared’s story is happening now. His father’s battle with brain cancer is happening now. These unanswered questions, at the time of this recording, remain unanswered now. So why share it? Because we know there are a lot of people out there whose cancer journeys are just beginning and unfolding now. We want you to know that you are not alone.  Post Show: Message from Jodi-Ann about the end of Season 1 of Black Cancer  This episode was created during the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for Black lives.
October 19, 2020
The Malignancy of Both (with Frantz Berthaud)
In this episode of Black Cancer, Frantz Berthaud, whose professional life as an Administrative Director at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and personal life collide. This episode is titled “The Malignancy of Both” because Frantz and I discuss the malignancy of racism and what our world could look like if we attacked it with the level of rigor we do cancer. We also talk about his journey with his sister’s triple negative breast cancer, its malignancy, and the tools his sister sent for him to change the course of cancer for other women of color like her. Just like all the other episodes this season, we recorded this interview during the COVID-19 pandemic. This becomes our entry point into talking about racism in the workplace and in our healthcare system. Here are Frantz’s listener recommendations: Something to read: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi | Something to listen to: Recordings from and songs enjoyed by your loved ones I’m There Too by Michelle Featherstone | Someone to know:  Bernard Tyson | Bonus Links Artist Who Did His Sister’s Portrait | Ibram X. Kendi's books | Ibram X. Kendi’s article on cancer diagnosis | More on Triple Negative Breast Cancer | Jodi-Ann Burey and TedxSeattle |
October 12, 2020
She Wasn't By Herself (with Erin Douglas)
In this episode, photographer Erin Douglas shares a perspective we don’t often get to hear from when it comes to cancer narratives: the caregiver. Specifically, the family member who re-prioritizes their lives so that they can put the needs of their loved one first. That’s what Erin did for her mother, who is recovering from a recent, second instance of cancer. Between living at the hospital and staying by her side at home, Erin hadn’t slept in her own bed for six months. There is one thing Erin did keep going during her stay at the hospital: The Black Burner Project. Check out Erin’s Burning Man photography on Instagram and do yourself a favor -  look up her feature about her work in Essence Magazine. Black Burner Project: Erin’s website: The Black Burner Project: Black Burner Instagram Page: Essence magazine feature, How I Found My Tribe and My Freedom at Burning: Here are Erin’s listener recommendations: Something to read -- The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho: Someone to know -- Yourself! Do that inner work. :) Something/one to listen to -- Jodi-Ann Burey - and Robin Arzon - and at Post Show Goodies: No post show this week! The full transcript will be posted SOON on
October 6, 2020
I Want Black Women to Have More Choices (with Erika Stallings)
In this episode, Erika Stallings, a New York based attorney, writer and BRCA awareness advocate, share her story about uncovering her BRCA2 gene mutation in her 20s, the importance of medical literacy - even with financial resources and social capital, and her journey to a preventative mastectomy. This episode was recorded a few days after learning about Chadwick Boseman's tragic passing due to Stage 4 colon cancer.  Get the full list of Erika's mentions here: Erika's listener receommendations:  Someone(s) to know: Eve L. Ewing, Sociologist at the University of Chicago, the author of Ghosts in the School Yard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side (book) and Blue Bloods: America’s Brotherhood of Police Officers (article) | Josie Duffy Rice, President of The Appeal; lawyer and journalist; wrote “The Abolition Movement” for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ September issue of Vanity Fair | Something to read: Min Jin Lee, Free Food for Millionaires | [a not to read bonus] Sanzo - text to order sparking water |  [didn't make it in the episode edits] - Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkenson  | Something(s) to listen to: Hear to Slay, a podcast with Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillian Cottom |  Black Men Can't Jump in Hollywood, a podcast hosted by Jonathan Braylock, James III and Jerah Milligan | Denzel Washington is the Best Actor of All Time Period, a podcast by W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery | Post Show Goodies: No post show this week! Take that time to check out all Erika’s links and recommendations. The transcript for the episode will be posted soon! Learn more about Erika Stallings: Learn more about Jodi-Ann Burey:
September 29, 2020
I'm Not Afraid of Losing Something Now (with Sharon Eldridge)
In this episode, Sharon Eldridge tells Jodi-Ann about the history of cancer in her family and its impact on how she sees her own health and mortality. Sharon’s grandmother died from stomach cancer when she was just in her 50s. Sharon’s mother, although she beat breast cancer a decade prior, also lost her life to colon cancer in her 50s. How do we pursue living full lives when we expect cancer to find us along our paths? It just might free you more than you think. This conversation explores the ways the process of understanding who we were when trauma entered our lives and how we can look back on ourselves with grace. Sharon also shares how having the bottom fall out from under you becomes the fuel for living a fearless life -- for yourself and others. Here are Sharon's listener recommendations: Someone to know: Ericka Hart Something to listen to: The Read podcast Something to read: Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor Post Show Goodies: Jodi-Ann and Sharon talk about Sharon’s mother’s name and it’s connection to #sayhername advocacy for Breonna Taylor and other women of color who’ve been murdered by the police. This episode was created during the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for Black lives. Support Black Cancer with a monthly donation. The full transcript ---> on the website!
September 21, 2020
Trained Self-Preservation Mode (with Juliette Austin)
In this episode, Juliette Austin tells Jodi-Ann about what happened to her when she disclosed her thyroid cancer diagnosis at work nearly a decade ago and just how toxic a reentry process to work can be. This traumatic experience impacted how she, many years later, chose to disclose her cancer survivor experience to Jodi-Ann, despite Jodi-Ann’s own openness in publicly sharing her story. The two exchange tender moments, sharing for the first time what a difference it made in the growth of their friendship to fully see each other. This conversation explores different ways each has learned how to cope, how to decide what to share, and what people often get wrong in trying to help us through our recovery process. Even without chemotherapy and radiation, it can be painful and life-long, with its own path towards acceptance. Who shows up for you, and how you show up for yourself, makes a big difference on how you choose to survive.  Post Show Goodies: Juliette encourages Jodi-Ann to trust that she’ll be okay.  Here are Juliette’s listener recommendations:  Someone to know: Yourself  Something to read: Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie A. Bowthrope    Something to listen to: “misik rasin” (Haitian roots music)  The full transcript at This episode was created during the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for Black lives.
September 14, 2020
In Defiance of Pain (with Yejin Lee)
In this episode, Yejin Lee tells Jodi-Ann about losing her mother to breast cancer during her first year as an undergraduate student at Boston College (where Jodi-Ann and Yejin met) and its impact on her then and now. This conversation hits on hard lessons about how we, as women of color relate to our bodies as we process pain. We explore the blessing and the curse that is our strength, our embodied expectation to be strong, and what it takes to heal. We talk about the 2020 movement for Black lives, the tools we use to grieve, and the power of our voices to survive. You can find Yejin at She is an equity informed career coach and non-profit organizational consultant. Post Show Goodies: Jodi-Ann asks Yejin about her mother’s name. Here are Yejin’s recommendations: Someone to know: Rebecca Kelly G, an arts, equity, and justice consultant, facilitator, interdisciplinary artist, and former civil rights attorney Someone to read: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward Something to listen to: Hidden Brain, A podcast by Shankar Vedantam at NPR Episode transcripts are available at: This episode was created during the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for Black lives.
September 7, 2020
To Wake Up. To Heal. To Become This Person (with Shayla Martin)
In this episode, Jodi-Ann Burey speaks with Shayla Martin, who was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma - IDC. Shayla shares how her journey of surviving cancer and her mastectomy has completely changed the trajectory of her life: how do you cope with cancer when it's the thing that put you on the path for your purpose? Shalya provides details on the happenstance way she found her tumor and her path towards treatment. There are several parts of the cancer journey others do not see and this episode reveals a bit more of what that looks like for Black women.  Jodi-Ann and Shayla bond over always having appointments with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on the calendar, Black natural hairstyles and the markers we have in our lives because of cancer.  Jodi-Ann and Shayla also discuss passages from Audre Lorde’s book, The Cancer Journals, and how breast reconstruction has changed her relationship with her body and what it means to face your own mortality.   Post show goodies:  what we do with all the cards  what work schedules and life plans looked like after the moment of diagnosis, and  how we try to be more present in our lives.  Here are Shayla’s listener recommendations:  Someone to know: Brene Brown  Someone to read: Brene Brown’s books on vulnerability  Something to listen to: music - throw yourself a party!  Episode transcripts on Click here for the transcript for this episode.  This episode was created during the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for Black lives.
August 30, 2020