Report: Black Americans Still More Likely To Die From Cancer

African Americans have higher odds to lose their lives to breast and prostate cancer than Whites.

Although deaths caused by cancer have been steadily declining for more than twenty years for most Americans, Black Americans are still more likely to die from the disease than their White counterparts despite treatment and prevention efforts, United Press International reports.

According to a study conducted by Duke University, Black Americans were 26 percent more likely to die of cancer than White Americans in 2000. The gap fell to 12 percent by 2020.

The report traced the death rates for the four most common cancers which are breast, lung, colon, and prostate,

Dr. Tomi Akinyemiju, an associate professor of population health and global health at Duke's Global Health Institute, and Dr. Anjali Gupta, university scholar at Duke who co-authored the study, noted that "substantial racial and ethnic disparities persisted for many common and preventable cancers.”

In 2000, about 252 of every 100,000 Black people died of cancer, and in 2020 the number fell to 167 two decades later.

Black Americans' death rates remained higher than those of White Americans. White Americans had a cancer death rate of about 198 per 100,000 in 2000 and about 149 per 100,000 by 2020, the Duke team noted.

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With breast cancer patients, the rates increased from 31 percent of Black women who were more likely than White women from cancer to 37 percent in 2020.

Black men have double the odds of dying from prostate cancer than White men and 45 percent higher odds of dying from colon cancer in comparison to White men.

According to a 10-year study published in May in JAMA Oncology, the continuing disparities are due to social and economic barriers.

“The findings suggest that resources should be allocated toward eliminating social inequalities and barriers throughout the cancer control continuum that contribute to substantially higher cancer mortality rates among Black men and women,” the report read.

The study also suggested that mistrust of doctors and access to quality healthcare are critical components of the disparity in cancer deaths.

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