NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Higher Breast Cancer Mortality Among Black Women

January 4, 2000

Black women with breast cancer are younger at the time of diagnosis, compared to white women, but are much more likely to be in a later stage of the disease when diagnosed and therefore have a significantly higher risk of dying from the disease.

  • Using data from a national cancer registry, researchers analyzed information for 135,424 women -- of whom 11,158 were black -- diagnosed with primary breast cancer between 1988 and 1995.
  • According to the study, published in Cancer, the mortality risk for black patients is 67 percent higher than for whites.
  • The study supports previous research, says author Sue Joslyn of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

The differences in mortality rates may be the result of cultural and socioeconomic factors that affect the use of screening, early detection and treatment, and differences in tumor characteristics between races.

Source: Michelle Healy, "Study Verifies Inequality of Breast Cancer Deaths, USA Today, January 4, 2000.


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