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Cancer Death Rates Decline Among Blacks, But Disparities Linger
Date:2/18/2009

U.S. for most cancers. As this report points out, the causes of these disparities are complex and likely reflect social and economic disparities, not biologic differences," Dr Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said in a news release.

"African-Americans face inequalities in income, education and standard of living, as well as barriers to accessing high-quality health care," he added. "And while it is discouraging that these differences still exist, we absolutely must face them and continue to enact policies to address them in order to save lives and reduce suffering from cancer among African-Americans."

Among the other findings in the report:

  • Blacks with higher levels of education have lower cancer death rates than those with less education. However, at each level of education, blacks still have higher cancer death rates than whites.
  • Almost half of blacks reported no leisure-time physical activity in 2006, compared to 35 percent of whites. Physical activity has been associated with a reduced risk of breast, colon, prostate and endometrium cancers.
  • In 2005-06, 76 percent of black adults were overweight and 46 percent were obese, compared to 66 percent and 33 percent, respectively, of whites.
  • Only half of black women aged 40 and older reported having a mammogram within the past year, compared with 53 percent of white women. In 2005, 40 percent of blacks and 50 percent of whites reported having a recent colorectal cancer screening test.
  • Black boys and girls have lower smoking rates than any other racial/ethnic groups.

More information

The National Cancer Institute has more on cancer health disparities.



-- Robert Preidt



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