New Report Finds that Black Women Are More Likely to Die from Breast Cancer than White Women

Breast Cancer (Stock Photo)
Breast Cancer (Stock Photo)

While White women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, Black women are more likely to die from it, according to a new report which found large and growing disparities in breast cancer mortality rates in the U.S. and many of its largest cities over the last two decades. 

The 2014 Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality Study, conducted by Sinai Urban Health Institute and the Avon Foundation for Women and published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, is the largest study of its kind and the first to examine racial disparities in breast cancer mortality in 50 U.S. cities between 1990 and 2009.

Of of the 41 cities that provided data, 39 had a disparity and 35 saw a widening gap in mortality rates over the 20-year period, the report stated.

The U.S. cities with the largest disparity between Black and White breast cancer mortality rates were, by highest rank: Memphis, Tenn.; Los Angeles; Wichita, Kan.; Houston; Boston; Denver; Chicago; Phoenix; Dallas and Indianapolis. New York has the smallest disparity of the 50 largest cities analyzed, followed by Baltimore.

“The fact that the disparity grew in so many cities is startling and alarming…. It showed us the problem was bigger than we thought,” Dr. Marc Hulbert, executive director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and an author of the study, told the AFRO.

African-American women tend to be disproportionately diagnosed with triple-negative and aggressive cancers, Hurlbert said, but “those aggressive cancers alone cannot explain the variability.”

The study found that overall, breast cancer death rates decreased over the past two decades. However, the White death rate decreased twice as much as that of Black women.

Researchers concluded that the estimated 1,710 Black women—or approximately five women per day—who die annually from breast cancer do so largely because of differential access to quality screening and breast cancer treatment.

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Source: | Zenitha Prince

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