Disparities Remain Between Black and White Women Dying of Breast Cancer in the United States

Nov. 21, 2016

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Take-Home Message:

The rates of breast cancer-specific death in the 50 most populous US cities are higher for black women compared to white women.

 

Black:White Disparities in Breast Cancer Mortality in the 50 Largest Cities in the United States, 2005-2014

Authors: Hunt B.R. et. al.
Source: J Cancer Epid (2016).
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2016.07.018

A 2014 study conducted by members of this group explored breast cancer-specific death rates between black and white women in the US from 1990 to 2009. The disparities provided information that many cities used to improve their delivery of breast health care. As it was clear that the study results were very useful, the group undertook an updated assessment.

Using population data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the US Census Bureau, the investigators compared breast cancer-specific death rates between black and white women from 2010-2014 in the 50 most populous US cities. They compared these rates to the 2005-2009 time period.

Results showed that, among all cities, the disease-specific death rates were higher for black women compared to white women. Some specific cities stood out: in Atlanta, GA and San Antonio, TX, black women’s rates of breast cancer-specific death rose compared to white women over the two time periods. On the other hand, the disease-specific death rates dropped for black women over the two time periods in Philadelphia, PA, Memphis, TN and Boston MA.

The researchers noted that, in the US as a whole, black women continue to die of breast cancer at a higher rate than white women. The reasons are multifactorial, but it is apparent that a strong reason is inequitable healthcare delivery. They cite that officials in Memphis developed collaborative plans to improve their breast care delivery. Those efforts resulted in improved outcomes for black women in that city.

It is hoped that this information will inspire public health officials across the nation to examine their breast health delivery systems and make more efforts to improve and equalize care for all ethnic groups.