Breast Cancer Death Rates Continue to Drop 2% Annually

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 30, 2009

Fewer women in the United States are dying from breast cancer, but disparities in death rates still exist between whites and blacks, a new report shows.

Deaths from breast cancer have dropped more than 2 percent each year since 1990. And in the past decade that decline in deaths has been shared by black, Hispanic and white women. But black women still have a 40 percent higher death rate from breast cancer than white women, according to the report, Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2009-2010, released Wednesday by the American Cancer Society.

“The breast cancer death rate continues to decrease since the 1990s in U.S. women because of improved treatments and increased mammography screening rates,” said Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, strategic director for cancer surveillance at the American Cancer Society.

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Other highlights of the report include:

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* From 1997 to 2006, breast cancer deaths dropped by 1.9 percent a year among white and Hispanic women, 1.6 percent a year among black women, and 0.6 percent annually among Asian-American and Pacific Islander women. Death rates have stayed the same for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

[Editor’s Note: “Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2009–2010,” can be downloaded as a PDF file here.]

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