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  • Priscilla Myles, MPH

Understanding How Cancer Impacts African Americans

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Cancer is the second leading cause of death among black people in the United States. Among men, black men get and die from cancer at higher rates than men of other races and ethnicities. Among women, white women have the highest rates of getting cancer, but black women have the highest rates of dying from cancer.


Breast cancer deaths are going down fastest among white women compared to women of other races and ethnicities. Black women have the highest death rates of all racial and ethnic groups, and are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. The reasons for this difference result from many factors, including having more aggressive cancers and fewer social and economic resources. To improve this disparity, black women need more timely follow-up and improved access to high-quality treatment.


Prostate cancer is more common in black men. It tends to start at younger ages and grow faster than in men of other racial or ethnic groups, but medical experts do not know why."


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