Persistent Black-White Disparities Seen in Cancer Mortality

The overall Black-White disparities are narrowing in cancer incidence but persist in cancer mortality, according to a report published online Feb. 10 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Angela N. Giaquinto, M.S.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Kennesaw, Georgia, and colleagues examined the most recent data on cancer incidence (through 2018) and mortality (through 2019) for Black people in the United States using population-based data.

The researchers note that in the United States, approximately 224,080 new cancer cases and 73,680 cancer deaths among Black people are expected in 2022. Black men had a 6 percent higher incidence rate than White men during the most recent five-year period but had 19 percent higher mortality overall, including an approximately twofold higher risk for death from myeloma, stomach cancer, and prostate cancer. Owing to a steeper drop in lung and prostate cancers among Black men, the overall cancer mortality disparity is narrowing between Black and White men. However, the decrease in prostate cancer mortality among Black men slowed from 5 percent annually during 2010 to 2014 to 1.3 percent during 2015 to 2019. For Black women, the incidence rate was 8 percent lower than that of White women, while mortality was 12 percent higher; despite similar or lower incidence rates, mortality rates are twofold higher for endometrial cancer and 41 percent higher for breast cancer.

“Reasons for continuing disparities are complex but likely are underpinned by structural racism and unequal access to care,” the authors write.

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