Nearly 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year in the US.
Black women are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white
Nearly 1,800 fewer black women would die of breast cancer if death
rates were the same as white women.
Breast cancer is
the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United
States (2005-2009). Breast cancer deaths are going down the fastest
among white women compared to women of other races and ethnicities.
Black women have the highest death rates of all racial and ethnic
groups and are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white
women. The reasons for this difference result from many factors
including having more aggressive cancers and fewer social and
economic resources. To improve this disparity, black women need
more timely follow-up and improved access to high-quality
Differences in screening, follow-up, and
Screening: Black women get mammograms as often as white
- Screening means looking for cancer before symptoms appear.
Mammograms are the best way to screen for breast cancer. A
mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast.
- Black and white women reported equal breast cancer screening in
2010 (mammograms every 2 years for women 50 to 74: 74% versus 73%).
- More black women are found to have breast cancer that has
spread beyond the breast (45%) compared with white women
Follow-up: Black women get follow-up care later than
- When a mammogram shows something is not normal, follow-up tests
are needed to see if it is cancer.
- More black women experience follow-up times of over 60 days
(20%) compared with white women (12%) after a mammogram that is not
normal. Waiting longer for follow-up care may lead to cancers that
spread beyond the breast and are harder to treat.
Treatment: Black women have different treatment
experiences than white women.
- After cancer is found, treatment should start as soon as
- Only 69% of black women start treatment within 30 days
(compared with 83% of white women).
- Fewer black women receive the surgery, radiation, and hormone
treatments they need compared to white women.
- Black women have 9 more deaths per 100 breast cancers diagnosed
compared to white women.