Breast Cancer Deaths Drop Again
Despite Decline, African-American Death Rate Still Higher
WebMD News Archive
Sept. 30, 2009 -- Breast cancer death rates
dropped 2%, continuing a decade-long decline, the American Cancer Society
That means about 15,000 deaths were avoided in 2009 alone, the ACS
Breast cancer deaths declined
among African-American women. But African-Americans are still 40% more
likely to die of breast cancer than are white women in the U.S.
And although fewer white women are getting diagnosed with breast
cancer, rates have remained stable
"While there is much to celebrate in the fight against cancer, this report
is also a strong reminder that far too many women still die of breast cancer,"
Elizabeth "Terry" T.H. Fontham, DrPH, ACS national volunteer president, says in
a news release. "We need to make sure all women have access to information to
help them reduce their risk and to resources to ensure early detection and the
best possible treatment."
This year, nearly 200,000 U.S. women will be told they have breast cancer,
the ACS estimates, and more than 40,000 women will die of the disease.
cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among U.S. women.
Breast cancer rates -- which reflect disease occurrence and how completely
the population is screened -- differ among states and by race:
- The state with the lowest breast cancer rate for white women is Utah, with
111.5 cases per 100,000 women.
- The state with the lowest breast cancer rate for African-American women is
New Mexico, with 60.9 cases per 100,000 women.
- The state with the highest breast cancer rate for white women is Hawaii,
with 139.1 cases per 100,000 women.
- The state with the highest breast cancer rate for African-American women is
Kentucky, with 127.3 cases per 100,000 women.
Even though white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a higher rate
than African-American women, they have a lower death rate. Death rates among
white women range from 21.7 per 100,000 in Hawaii to 27.3 in New Jersey; among
African-American women they range from 20.9 in Rhode Island to 40.0 in
This disparity is captured in another statistic: 90% of white women, but
only 78% of African-American women, survive at least five years after their breast
As of January 2006, when the latest figures were compiled, some 2.5 million
U.S. women were breast cancer survivors. Most of them were cancer free.
The ACS report on breast cancer comes out every two years. Here are some
other facts and figures from the current report, which compiles data from 2002
- 95% of breast cancer cases and 97% of breast cancer deaths were in women
aged 40 and older.
- Half of women diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 61.
- Breast cancer incidence dropped sharply from 2002 to 2003, particularly
among women aged 50-69. Many experts think this is because of the sudden
decline in postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy in 2002.