Thursday, February 3. 2011
Cancer is more likely to be fatal to African-Americans than to other ethnic groups in the country for a number of reasons, according to recently released data from the American Cancer Society.
Despite the fact that mortality rates among black Americans have been on the decline since the beginning of the 1990s, that ethnic group continues to suffer a higher percentage of cancer fatalities than others, the society said. That said, smoking-related cancer deaths and prostate cancer deaths are both sinking faster among African-American men than white men, though breast cancer death rates are going in the opposite direction.
Dr. Otis Brawley said in a statement that, while the causes of the higher mortality rate are complex, income levels are undoubtedly a factor.
"African Americans are disproportionately represented in lower socioeconomic groups. For most cancers, the lower the socioeconomic status, the higher the risk," he said, adding that overall health levels and the rates of diabetes and obesity in the community may also play a role.
ACS said, however, that it is committed to erasing the gap by funding hundreds of cancer studies on patients of lower socioeconomic status, many of which focus on the black community.
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