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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • African American;
  • survival;
  • mortality;
  • health disparities

Abstract

In this article, the American Cancer Society estimates the number of new cancer cases and deaths for African Americans and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality, survival, and screening prevalence based upon incidence data from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics. It is estimated that 176,620 new cases of cancer and 64,880 deaths will occur among African Americans in 2013. From 2000 to 2009, the overall cancer death rate among males declined faster among African Americans than whites (2.4% vs 1.7% per year), but among females, the rate of decline was similar (1.5% vs 1.4% per year, respectively). The decrease in cancer death rates among African American males was the largest of any racial or ethnic group. The reduction in overall cancer death rates since 1990 in men and 1991 in women translates to the avoidance of nearly 200,000 deaths from cancer among African Americans. Five-year relative survival is lower for African Americans than whites for most cancers at each stage of diagnosis. The extent to which these disparities reflect unequal access to health care versus other factors remains an active area of research. Overall, progress in reducing cancer death rates has been made, although more can and should be done to accelerate this progress through ensuring equitable access to cancer prevention, early detection, and state-of-the-art treatments. CA Cancer J Clin 2013. © 2013 American Cancer Society.