Deaths From Breast Cancer in The US Have Decreased, Yet Racial Disparities Still Exist.

According to a recent report from the American Cancer Society, the death rate from breast cancer in the U.S. decreased by 43% over the past three decades, resulting in 460,000 fewer breast cancer fatalities.

Black women continue to have a higher mortality rate from breast cancer despite having a lower incidence of the illness.

“We’re still seeing the same discrepancy,” Rebecca Siegel, lead study author and senior scientific director of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, told CNN. “Death rates are dropping in Black women, just like they are in practically every other demographic.”

According to her, there is “clear evidence that Black women are underserved in the health care system at every point of the breast cancer care continuum, from lower-quality mammography to delays in detection and treatment to inadequate treatment when they are diagnosed.” The key lesson is that we must seriously examine how we are treating Black women differently.

To comprehend the most recent data on mammography screening and breast cancer incidence, mortality, and survival, Siegel and colleagues examined data from the National Cancer Institute and CDC registries.

The study’s researchers discovered that over the previous forty years, breast cancer rates have increased. The rate climbed by 0.5% yearly throughout the most recent data years, 2010 to 2019. This was largely because the disease had hormone receptors and had been diagnosed earlier while it was still confined.

In contrast, since their high in 1989, the death rates from breast cancer have been progressively declining. With a 1.3% yearly decline between 2011 and 2020 as opposed to a 1.9% annual decline between 2002 and 2011, the decline has slowed in recent years. Between 1989 and 2020, the death rate decreased overall by 43%.

With the exception of American Indians and Alaska Natives, whose mortality rates remained steady, the death rate decreased for women across all racial and ethnic groupings. The death rate for Black women was 40% higher overall (27.6 versus 19.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016-2020) and twice as high for women under the age of 50, despite the fact that they had a lower incidence rate of cancer than white women (127.8 versus 133.7 cases per 100,000 people in 2016-2020). (12.1 versus 6.5 deaths per 100,000 people).

In addition, for every molecular subtype and stage of disease, with the exception of stage I, Black women had the lowest five-year relative survival of any racial or ethnic group. According to the study’s authors, racial disparities gaps could be reduced by improving access to high-quality screening and treatment through nationwide Medicaid expansion and collaborations between community organisations, advocacy groups, and health systems.

According to Samuel Cykert, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, “The fact that the disparity is still there doesn’t surprise me since people haven’t concentrated on it to do something about it.”

Research on racial differences in cancer treatment had already been done by Cykert, who wasn’t involved with the publication. Because all women received subpar diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in the 1970s, he said, outcomes were equal. But when the death rates for white women started to decline in the middle of the 1980s, the disparity for Black women persisted.

A system shift that acknowledges that there are discrepancies in care and outcomes is what you actually need, he added. “Community involvement is also necessary so that specific health systems are aware of the challenges faced by their locality. Furthermore, accountability is also necessary.

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