Breast Cancer Death Rates are Changing

By Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Special for  USDR

Breast cancer death rates among women decreased during 2010-2014, but racial differences persisted, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly  Report.

The findings show changes for death rates from breast cancer by age group for black and white women, the groups with the highest death rates in the United  States.

“Our latest data suggest some improvement for black women when it comes to disparities,” said Lisa Richardson, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “First, the decline in deaths suggests that white and black women under 50 are benefitting equally from cancer treatments. Second, we’re hopeful the lack of difference in death rates between black and white women under 50 will start to be seen in older  women.”

Data  highlights

  • There was a faster decrease in breast cancer death rates for white women (‑1.9% per year) than black women (‑1.5 percent per year) between 2010 and 2014.
  • Among women under age 50, breast cancer death rates decreased at the same pace for black and white women.
  • The largest difference by race was among women ages 60–69 years: breast cancer death rates dropped 2.0 percent per year among white women, compared with 1.0 percent per year among black women.

The authors noted that the drop in death rates among women may be due to improved education about the importance of appropriate breast cancer screening and treatment, as well as women having access to personalized and cutting-edge  treatment.

“The good news is that overall rates of breast cancer are decreasing among black women. However, when compared with white women, the likelihood that a black woman will die after a breast cancer diagnosis is still considerably higher,” said Jacqueline Miller, M.D., and medical director of CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection  Program.

What can be done to reduce breast cancer  risk

Personalized medical treatments combined with community-based cancer control efforts that ensure adequate follow-up and treatment after a cancer diagnosis could help decrease breast cancer death rates faster and reduce differences among black and white  women.

Women can take steps to help reduce their breast cancer risk by knowing their family history of cancer, being physically active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting recommended cancer  screenings.

CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for low-income, uninsured, and underserved women. It is the largest organized cancer screening program in the U.S. and offers free or low cost mammograms to women who  qualify.

CDC’s Bring Your Brave campaign provides information about breast cancer to women younger than age 45 by sharing real stories about young women whose lives have been affected by breast  cancer.

The United States Cancer Statistics web-based report contains the official federal statistics on newly diagnosed cancer cases.  CDC and the National Cancer Institute have combined their cancer incidence data sources to produce these statistics. Mortality data are from CDC’s National Vital Statistics System. CDC provides support for states and territories to maintain registries that provide high-quality data through the National Program of Cancer  Registries.

US Department of Health and Human  Services

CDC works 24/7 saving lives, saving money through prevention, and protecting people from health threats. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation’s health protection  agency.

SOURCE Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention

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