The American Cancer Society reports that, although rates are increasing among African-Americans for some cancers which can be detected in routine screenings, the number of cancer deaths among African-American men are declining, even outpacing the decline among white men.
The latest data show that the cancer death rate declined faster for African-American men than among white men during the latest time period. African-American men experienced a drop of 2.4% annually, compared with 1.7% among white men. That means the prevention of nearly 200,000 cancer deaths among African-Americans since the 1990s, according to the report.
“The decline is greater for black males because they started with higher rates of deaths and especially greater rates of preventable deaths,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society and CNN Health conditions expert.
Smoking is viewed as the reason for the decrease in cancer deaths among African-American men. However, the overall number of cancer incidents for African-American men is 15 percent higher than whites.
In addition, African-American females have lower overall incidence rates than whites for all cancers combined (6 percent or lower) and for many cancers, including breast and lung cancer.
What does it all mean?
“More can and should be done to accelerate this progress by making sure all Americans have equal access to cancer prevention, early detection and state-of-the-art treatments,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society and CNN Health conditions expert.