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Cancer Rates Dropping Among Black Americans
Date:2/5/2013

less often and are typically treated differently.
  • The good news: Cancer death rates have declined since the early 1990s by 2.4 percent a year for black men (higher than a 1.7 percent annual decline among whites), while they've gone down by about 1.5 percent a year for both white and black women.
  • Dr. Dalliah Black, a surgical oncologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said it's difficult to figure out the causes of the differences in how cancer affects whites and blacks.

    She said biology may play a role, along with differences in how doctors treat patients of different races. Skepticism among blacks about the medical profession could be a factor, she added, "but I don't think it's as pervasive of a feeling in the African-American community as in the past."

    What to do?

    Black said more cancer screening is crucial, and "there's a lot of room for improvement in increasing public awareness about cancers that can be treated. That can translate into improvement in survival," she said.

    The report appears in the Feb. 5 issue of the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

    More information

    For more about disparities in cancer care, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

    SOURCES: Carol DeSantis, M.P.H., epidemiologist, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Dalliah Black, M.D., assistant professor and surgical oncologist, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Feb. 5, 2013, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians


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