Black-white cancer mortality gap has narrowed significantly, ‘but we still have a long way to go’

2-16-2019 x
Image credit: Dana Sacchetti/IAEA

Longtime cancer disparities between African Americans and whites — with blacks having a sharply higher mortality rate — have narrowed significantly during the past several years and disappeared nearly entirely for a few age groups, including men under 50 and women who are 70 and older, according to a new study by the American Cancer Society.

African Americans still have the highest death rate and the lowest survival rate of any racial or ethnic group for most cancers. But the report noted the overall cancer death rate has been dropping faster in blacks than in whites because of bigger declines for three of the four most common cancers — lung, prostate and colorectal.

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The result: The “excess risk” of cancer death in blacks, compared with whites, fell from 47 percent in 1990 to 19 percent in 2016 for men and from 19 percent to 13 percent for women, according to the study.

“The message is progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go,” said Len Lichtenfeld, interim chief medical officer for the cancer society.

The biggest factor in narrowing the gap has been more-rapid decreases in smoking and lung cancer over the past four decades.

Read full, original post: Black-white cancer disparities narrow sharply amid progress against common malignancies

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