The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study in October 2016 that found breast cancer rates among women have decreased in recent years. However, disparities among races and between age groups still exist. 

“Our latest data suggests some improvement for black women when it comes to disparities,” Lisa Richardson, MD, director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control said. “First, the decline in deaths suggests that white and black women under 50 are benefiting equally from cancer treatments. Second, we’re hopeful the lack of difference in death rates between black and white women under 50 will start to be seen in older women.”

Other interesting data found includes the following information. 

  • There was a faster decrease in breast cancer death rates for white women (1.9% per year) than black women (1.5% per year) between 2010 and 2014.
  • Among women under age 50, breast cancer death rates decreased at the same pace for black and white women.
  • The largest difference by race was among women ages 60 – 69 years: breast cancer death rates dropped 2.0% per year among white women, compared with 1.0% per year among black women.

According to Jacqueline Miller, MD, medical director of CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, “The good news is that overall rates of breast cancer are decreasing among black women. However, when compared with white women, the likelihood that a black woman will die after a breast cancer diagnosis is still considerably higher.”  

In 2016, the American Cancer Society estimated there would be nearly 250,000 new cases of breast cancer in the United States, along with more 40,000 deaths attributed to the disease. Although breast cancer mortality rates are decreasing in the United States, the CDC is interested in closing the gaps that still exist among aging populations and racial backgrounds.