Black women in the U.S. are more likely than any other racial group to die from breast cancer. In fact, black women are 40 percent more likely than white women to die from breast cancer.
Breast cancer is also the most common cancer among African-American women. In 2019, about 33,840 new cases of breast cancer were expected to occur among African-American women in the US.
Breast cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer death among Black/African-American women. In 2019, about 6,540 breast cancer deaths were expected to occur among Black/African-American women. Compared to white women, black women tend to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age. The median age at diagnosis is 60 for black women and 63 for white women.
There are many possible reasons for the differences in survival rates:
- Differences in tumor biology and genetics
- Prevalence of risk factors, including being overweight and obesity
- Barriers to quality health care access, such as not having health insurance
- Health behaviors, including not completing breast cancer treatment
- Later stage of breast cancer at diagnosis
Susan G. Komen encourages all women to know their family health history to understand their risk of developing the disease. In addition, knowing how your breasts normally look and feel can help all women recognize changes in their breasts, if they occur. Then, it is just as important to report changes to their doctor.