A new report by the American Cancer Society finds that African-American cancer rates are dropping. The most significant decrease in deaths from cancer were seen in African-American males.
The report, released today, estimates that close to 200,000 cancer deaths are attributed to the rate decrease. Research indicates that lower rates of lung cancer played a major role in affecting the rate change.
US News reports that, although the decline in cancer related deaths is encouraging, African-American males continue to make up a higher percentage of individuals diagnosed with the disease. Carol DeSantis, epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society and the report’s lead author, spoke about the statistics:
“We see the disparity between black and white men narrowing. With African-American women, it’s really upsetting. They have lower rates of breast cancer, but they are more likely to die from the disease. It’s just unacceptable.”
The report also cites an estimated 176,620 new cases of cancer to be diagnosed among African-Americans this year. Prostate and breast cancer will likely be the two most frequently diagnosed forms.
According to NBC News, researchers continue to search for the reason African-American cancer rates differ from other races. It has been speculated that socioeconomic factors may be the cause rather than any physical differences.
DeSantis encourages individuals to take preventative measures when possible:
“You’ve got screening for breast cancer, where catching it early improves your outcomes, and screening for colorectal cancer which is preventable. African-Americans are just not getting access to these high-quality screenings that we’ve had over the past few decades.”