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From 1999 to 2019, cancer deaths among blacks in the United States were steadily declining. However, in 2019, black people still had significantly higher cancer mortality rates than people of other racial and ethnic groups, a large epidemiological study found. The study was conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and the results appeared May 19 in JAMA Oncology.

“Despite the decline cancer mortality Nationally, among black people, they continued to carry a greater burden of cancer than all other races ethnic groups studied, ”said Wayne R. Lawrence, MD, of the Metabolic Epidemiology Division of the NCI Division of Epidemiology and Genetics of Cancer, who led the study.

Dr. Lawrence and colleagues used death certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics to analyze cancer mortality based on age, gender, and cancer location among black non-Hispanics aged 20 and older in the United States. They then compared cancer death rates in 2019 among black men and women with other racial and ethnic groups.

Between 1999 and 2019, more than 1 million black men and women aged 20 and older died of cancer. During this period, cancer mortality among this group decreased by 2% per year, with a faster decline among men (2.6% per year) than women (1.5% per year).

Mortality rates have decreased for most types of cancer; the fastest decline was in lung cancer among men (3.8% per year) and gastric cancer among women (3.4% per year). However, over the same 20-year period of deaths from liver cancer increased among older black men and women, and uterine cancer mortality increased among black women.

Dr Lawrence noted that the overall reduction in cancer mortality among blacks may be due to some combination of improved access to screening, early detection, progress in treatment and behavior changefor example, reducing cigarette smoking.

Comparing cancer mortality rates among racial and ethnic groups in 2019, researchers found that black men and women had higher cancer mortality rates, both overall and for most cancers, than white, Asian, or Pacific islands; Indians / Alaska. Native and Hispanic / Hispanic men and women.

For example, mortality from prostate cancer among black men was almost five times higher than among Asian or Pacific islands. The death rate from breast cancer among black women was almost 2.5 times higher than among the Asian or Pacific islands.

Dr Lawrence noted that the imbalance in the number of deaths probably reflects systemic barriers that can be prevented by obtaining quality care. Whether it’s cancer screening, early diagnosis or receiving proven treatments, he explained, “Black people continue to be delayed in receiving care or receiving less care than their white counterparts.”

Black people are also more likely to live in neighborhoods with poor access to specialists, visit doctors with limited clinical resources and live in settlements with greater exposure to environmental carcinogens such as air pollution, the researchers said.

One of the limitations of the study is the broad groupings used for racial and ethnicity, which can make it difficult to identify differences between people who fall into the racial category of blacks, Dr. Lawrence said. Another limitation is the potential misclassification of race and ethnicity and the underlying cause of death recorded in death certificates.

One cause for concern, he noted, is the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on access to cancer-related health care in black communities in the United States, such as a greater reduction in breast cancer screening among black women compared to whites women.

“These factors could lead to a slowdown in the reduction in cancer deaths among blacks in the coming years,” said Dr. Lawrence.


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Additional information:
Trends in cancer mortality among blacks in the United States from 1999 to 2019. JAMA Oncology (2022). DOI: 10.1001 / jamaoncol.2022.1472

Citation: The death rate from cancer among blacks has declined over time, but remains higher than that of other racial and ethnic groups (2022, May 19), obtained May 19, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/ 2022-05-cancer-death-black -people-declined.html

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