Racial gaps remain in cancer rates

Cancer death rates among African American men declined faster than those of white men in the last decade, even though overall survival rates for black men and women remained the lowest of all racial groups for most types of cancer, according to a recent report.

In a study published Tuesday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, researchers found that while the racial gap was closing for lung and smoking-related cancers, as well as prostate cancer, the disparity between black and white patients was widening for colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

“To the extent to which these disparities reflect unequal access to healthcare versus other factors remains an active area of research,” wrote lead author Carol DeSantis, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society. “Overall, progress in reducing cancer death rates has been made, although more can and should be done to accelerate this progress through ensuring equitable access to cancer prevention, early detection, and state-of-the-art treatments.”

From 2000 to 2009, the cancer death rate among all American males declined faster among blacks than among whites (by 2.4% per year for blacks vs 1.7% for whites), authors wrote. For women, the difference was much less pronounced: a 1.5% decline for black women and 1.4% for white women.

Monte Morin reports here.


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