Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among black women, and an estimated 30,700 new cases are expected to be diagnosed from 2016.
Similar to the pattern among white women, breast cancer incidence rates among black women increased rapidly during much of the 1980s, largely due to increased detection by mammography screening. Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among black women, surpassed only by lung cancer, according to the American Cancer association.
An estimated 6,310 deaths from breast cancer are expected to occur among black women in 2016 through 2017.
Breast cancer death rates among black women increased from 1975 to 1991, but declined as a result of improvements in both early detection and treatment.
Prior to the mid-1980s, breast cancer death rates for white and black women were similar.
However, a larger increase in black women from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, followed by a slower decline, has resulted in a widening disparity.
Since 1990, breast cancer death rates dropped 23 percent in black women compared to a 37 percent drop in white women. As a result, breast cancer death rates in the most recent time period, 2008 through 2012, are 42 percent higher in black women compared to white women, despite similar incidence rates. Higher death rates among black women likely reflects a combination of factors, including differences in stage at diagnosis, obesity and comorbidities, and tumor characteristics, as well as access, adherence, and response to high-quality cancer treatment.