Published in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, "Breast Cancer Statistics, 2015" showed that breast cancer rates in African-American women in the U.S. are on the rise, closing the gap with rates for white women that has existed for decades.
Based on the results of the report, the incidence of breast cancer increased by 0.4 percent a year between 2008 and 2012 in African-American women, while rates remained stable among white women for the same period. By 2012, rates for black women have caught up to those for white women because the latter had been steadily increasing while the former remained stable. Specifically, rates for black women were higher compared to those for white women in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky and Alabama.
Mortality rates also kept increasing in black women compared to their white counterparts, even though their incidence rates had historically been lower. The disparity in death rates related to breast cancer continued to grow, reaching a point in 2012 wherein rates for black women were 42 percent higher than those for white women.
According to the researchers behind the report, they believe the trend of higher incidence rates for breast cancer in black women will continue in the near future, at least. Their other findings include:
• Mortality rates for breast cancer have dropped by 36 percent since 1989, representing 249,000 averted deaths related to the cancer;
• Death rates declined dramatically for white women in 27 out of the 30 states in the country from 2003 to 2012;
• Black women feature the highest death rate for breast cancer across racial/ethnic groups;
• Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with the cancer at later stages;
• Black women have the lowest survival rate at every stage of diagnosis; and
• Breast cancer subtypes are widely distributed across racial/ethnic groups, but black women are more likely to be found with triple negative breast cancers, a subtype that has been deemed aggressive and associated with poor chances of survival.
Taking away skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common of cancers diagnosed in women in the U.S., accounting for almost a third of cases of the disease and making it the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. In 2015, it is estimated that 231,840 new invasive breast cancer cases will be diagnosed, while 40, 290 women will be succumbing to the disease.
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