Breast cancer is the most common cancer among African-American women. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death among African-American women (lung cancer is the major cause of cancer death among these women) [37]. In 2013 (most recent data available), an estimated 27,060 new cases of breast cancer and 6,080 deaths were expected to occur among African-American women [46].

Overall, breast cancer incidence in African-American women is lower than in white women. However, for women younger than 45, incidence is higher among African-American women than white women [46].

In 2011 (most recent data available), breast cancer mortality (death) was 44 percent higher in African-American women than in white women [39]. Although breast cancer survival in African-American women has increased over time, survival rates remain lower than among white women. For those diagnosed from 2004 to 2010, the five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer among African-American women was 80 percent compared to 92 percent among white women [39]. There are many possible reasons for this difference in survival including [46,82]:

  • Biologic and genetic differences in tumors
  • Prevalence of risk factors
  • Barriers to health care access
  • Health behaviors
  • Later stage of breast cancer at diagnosis

Breast cancer screening rates among African-American women are similar to those among white women [47]. Learn more breast cancer screening among African-American women.

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