Cancer in African Americans: Gap Closing for Some Sites; Widening for Others

Drop in Overall Mortality Means Nearly 200,000 Cancer Deaths Avoided in African Americans since 1990

SOURCE: American Cancer Society

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ATLANTA, Feb. 20, 2013 /3BL Media/ -- The cancer death rate for men declined faster among African Americans than among whites in the latest time period, narrowing the racial disparity in overall cancer death rates,  according to a new report from the American Cancer Society. But while gaps are closing for some cancers, such as lung and other smoking-related cancers and for prostate cancer, the racial disparity has widened for colorectal cancer and female breast cancer, cancers that are most affected by screening and treatment. The findings are published in Cancer Statistics for African Americans, 2013 which appears in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The report and its consumer version, Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2013-2014, provide current data on cancer incidence, mortality, survival, screening test use, and risk factors for African Americans.

The decrease in overall cancer death rates among African American males was the largest of any racial or ethnic group during the most recent time period. The reduction in overall cancer death rates since the early 1990s translates to the avoidance of nearly 200,000 deaths from cancer among African Americans.

Meanwhile, five-year relative survival rates are lower for African Americans than whites for most cancers at each stage of diagnosis. “These disparities largely reflect unequal access to health care and other socioeconomic factors,” said Otis W. Brawley. M.D., American Cancer Society chief medical officer.  “While cancer death rates among African American men have been declining rapidly, they remain 33% higher than those among white men, evidence that more can and should be done to accelerate this progress by making sure all Americans have equal access to cancer prevention, early detection, and state-of-the-art treatments.”

Read more of the report.

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KEYWORDS: Nutrition & Well-Being, Research & Policy, African Americans, cancer research, American Cancer Society, cancer mortality, Cancer

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