Patterns and Trends in Age-Specific Black-White Differences in Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality - United States, 1999-2014.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016; 65(40):1093-1098MM
Breast cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among U.S. women (1). Compared with white women, black women historically have had lower rates of breast cancer incidence and, beginning in the 1980s, higher death rates (1). This report examines age-specific black-white disparities in breast cancer incidence during 1999-2013 and mortality during 2000-2014 in the United States using data from United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) (2). Overall rates of breast cancer incidence were similar, but death rates remained higher for black women compared with white women. During 1999-2013, breast cancer incidence decreased among white women but increased slightly among black women resulting in a similar average incidence at the end of the period. Breast cancer incidence trends differed by race and age, particularly from 1999 to 2004-2005, when rates decreased only among white women aged ≥50 years. Breast cancer death rates decreased significantly during 2000-2014, regardless of age with patterns varying by race. For women aged ≥50 years, death rates declined significantly faster among white women compared with black women; among women aged <50 years, breast cancer death rates decreased at the same rate among black and white women. Although some of molecular factors that lead to more aggressive breast cancer are known, a fuller understanding of the exact mechanisms might lead to more tailored interventions that could decrease mortality disparities. When combined with population-based approaches to increase knowledge of family history of cancer, increase physical activity, promote a healthy diet to maintain a healthy bodyweight, and increase screening for breast cancer, targeted treatment interventions could reduce racial disparities in breast cancer.