Breast cancer incidence rates have increased across all races and ethnicities since the 1980s, primarily due to increased detection by mammography. But while the incidence among white women have generally stabilized in the past few years, the incidence among African American women continuesto rise.
Despite having similar incidence rates to white women, African America nwomen are 42 percent more likely to die from the disease. African American women are also more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at later stages of the disease, and experience delays in treatment of two or more months after initial diagnosis.
Long intervals between screening, lack of timely follow-up of suspicious results, and delays in treatment post-diagnosis likely contribute to the lower stage-specific survival among African American women.
Higher death rates among African American women likely reflect a combination of factors, including differences in stage of cancer at diagnosis, comorbidities, obesity rates, tumor characteristics, as well as timely access to screening, diagnostic and treatment services.
See “Disparities in Breast Cancer: African American Women” on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network website