Cancer: the prognosis is grim for African-Americans
The number of Americans dying of cancer declined for second year in a row, this time by a much greater number, the American Cancer Society reports, a signal that decades of advances in prevention and treatment are paying off, experts say.
Although black women have a 9% lower cancer rate than their white peers, black women have an 18% higher death rate for all forms of cancer. Black men have a 15% higher rate of cancer and a 38% higher death rate than white men, a trend that extends from 1999 to 2003.
These statistics stand in stark contrast to the cancer society's overall tally, out Wednesday, showing 3,014 fewer cancer deaths in 2004 than in 2003. Cancer rates have been declining since 1991, the society says, but the first reported drop in actual numbers of deaths was a decline of 369 deaths from 2002 to 2003. The 2004 numbers represent only the second drop in more than 70 years of record-keeping.
"The prognosis is grim for African-Americans," says Carla Boutin-Foster, co-director of New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's Center for Multicultural and Minority Health.
U.S. Cancer Deaths Decline For Second Straight Year, Though Mortality Rates Still Higher For Blacks Than Whites