Sobering New Report on Breast Cancer Disparaties

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The American Cancer Society issued a press release this week, “Cancer Statistics for African-Americans, 2016.” The report states that cancer disparities persist for breast cancer in women. Here are some excerpts from the study:

    1. Since 1990, breast cancer death rates dropped 23% in black women and 37% in white women. As a result, the racial disparity has widened, likely due to inequalities in access to care, including screening and treatment.
    1. Breast cancer death rates in the most recent time period (2008-2012) are 42% higher in black women compared with white women, despite historically lower incidence rates.
    1. The 5-year relative survival rate is lower in blacks than in whites for every stage of diagnosis for most cancer sites. Much of the difference in survival is due to barriers that limit access to timely, appropriate, and high-quality medical care, which also results in later stage at diagnosis, when treatment choices are more limited and often less effective.
    1. Obesity increases cancer risk, and black women have the highest BMI of any sex-racial/ethnic group. During 2013-2014, nearly 6 in 10 black women were obese (BMI?30) compared to nearly 4 in 10 white women.
  • Lead author of the report Carol DeSantis shares, “It has long been recognized that these gaps in mortality and survival largely reflect socioeconomic disparities. But while some studies suggest that blacks who receive cancer treatment and medical care similar to that of whites experience similar outcomes, others report that racial disparities persist even after controlling for socioeconomic factors and access to care. The bottom line is accelerating progress in eliminating racial disparities requires equitable access to services for prevention, early detection, and high-quality treatment.

    Behind these statistics are real women struggling against steep odds to reclaim their lives from cancer. How can we help improve the lives of African American women battling cancer? Let’s talk.
    POSTED BY: Jacci