Breast cancer rates among African American women in the United States have continued to increase, converging with rates among white women and closing a gap that had existed for decades. The finding is part of Breast Cancer Statistics, 2015, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and its accompanying consumer publication, Breast Cancer Facts & Figures.
Excluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among U.S. women, accounting for nearly one in three cancers. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death among women after lung cancer. Approximately 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 40,290 deaths are expected among U.S. women in 2015.
From 2008 to 2012, breast cancer incidence rates increased in African American women (0.4% per year), and among Asian/Pacific Islanders (1.5% per year), while they remained stable among whites, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives. In 2012, overall breast cancer incidence rates converged between blacks and whites as a result of increasing incidence rates in black women and stable rates in white women. Notably, rates were higher in blacks than whites in seven states (Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee). While the reason for rising incidence in African American women is not clear, the authors note that the increase in incidence has been driven by increases in ER positive breast cancers and may reflect rising rates of obesity.
Mortality rates continued to be higher in black women than in white women, despite historically lower incidence rates among black women. The black-white disparity in breast cancer death rates has increased over time; by 2012, death rates were 42% higher in black women than white women. The authors say that trend is likely to continue--at least in the near future--in view of the increasing trends in breast cancer incidence rates in black women.
Other findings from the report:
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