Recent Trends in Black-White Disparities in Cancer Mortality

Department of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, 250 Williams Street, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA.
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention (Impact Factor: 4.13). 12/2008; 17(11):2908-12. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0131
Source: PubMed


Despite decreases in overall cancer death rates across all racial and ethnic groups since the early 1990s, racial disparities in cancer mortality persist. We examined temporal trends in Black-White disparities in cancer mortality from all sites combined, smoking-related cancers (lung and a group including oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, and kidney), and sites affected, or potentially affected by screening and treatment (breast, prostate, colon/rectum). Death rates, rate differences, and rate ratios comparing Blacks to Whites from 1975 through 2004 were based on mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The Black-White disparity in overall cancer death rates narrowed from the early 1990s through 2004, especially in men. This reduction was driven predominantly by more rapid decreases in mortality from tobacco-related cancers in Black men than White men. In contrast, racial disparities in mortality from cancers potentially affected by screening and treatment increased over most of the interval since 1975. Coordinated efforts to improve early detection and treatment for all segments of the population are essential to eliminate racial disparities in cancer mortality.

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