Researchers Discovered Lower Survival Rates in Black Cancer Patients

Black Cancer Patients

Cancer happens when cells in a patient’s body start growing and dividing abnormally. More than 100 types of cancer have been identified so far.

The disease itself is severe, but in many cases, a patient can recover successfully and still have a healthy life. The evolution of medicine and technology allows scientists to carry out studies in order to improve* the way cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Despite remarkable breakthrough in cancer treatment and diagnosis survival rates still, differ among different races according to the latest reports.

Cancer Survival Rates

Even though last few decades witnessed major improvement in cancer care, the disease still kills more black patients compared to white.

In fact, three new studies published in the Cancer journal reveal that colon, breast, and ovarian cancers are associated with higher survival rates among whites than in black patients.

Colon Cancer

The study[1] was carried out by Dr. Arica White and a team of researchers at the CDC. They analyzed data from 37 population-based cancer registries which covered about 80% of the US.

The team of researchers focused on patients who were diagnosed with colon cancer between 2001 and 2009.

Findings showed that five-year survival rate increased by 0.9% from 637% in 2001-2003 to 64.6% in 2004-2009. That being said, black patients were more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer in its late stages when chances of survival decrease* significantly.

Although survival rates for both black and white patients improved* during the study period, five-year survival was 9-10% lower for African-American individuals.

Interestingly, survival rates for black patients were significantly lower in 2004-2009 than survival rates among whites 15-20 years ago when fewer treatments were available.

Scientists also found that difference between black and white patients decreased* by 1% only.

Breast Cancer

Dr. Jacqueline W. Miller and a team of researchers at the CDC carried out a study to evaluate differences in survival rates among black and white breast cancer patients.

They analyzed data from the same population-based registries mentioned above but focused on females who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2001 and 2009.

Findings revealed[2] that overall survival rate was 88.2%, which is considered very high. However, black patients had more death cases due to breast cancer than their white counterparts.

Five-year survival for white women was 89.1% while for black ladies it was 76.9% in 2001-2003 period while in the 2004-2009 timeframe the ratio was 89.6% vs. 78.4%.

Survival Rates

Ovarian Cancer

The CDC researchers led by Dr. Sherri L. Stewart used the same database as other two studies to analyze survival rates among black and white women diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 2001 and 2009.

During this timeframe, a total of 172,849 cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed. More than one-half of those cases were diagnosed in the later stages.

Five-year survival in the 2001-2003 period was 39.6%, and it increased to 41% in 2004-2009. However, black women had higher mortality rates[3] than white women.

In 2001-2003, the survival rate for black women was 29.6%, and it rose to 31.1% in 2004-2009 period.

How To Improve* Survival Rates?

These findings[4] are truly deplorable in the way that despite amazing breakthrough in cancer treatment and diagnosis, racial differences regarding mortality and survival still exist.

This could be down to socioeconomic status and the fact that some women don’t have adequate healthcare which could detect cancer in early stages.

To improve* survival rates, it is necessary to detect cancer early, screen for colon cancer annually, and to get educated about early symptoms of cancers.

Not only should you learn to recognize signs of cancer, but also be proactive and see your doctor when experiencing them. These findings also stress the importance of ensuring* that every person regardless of gender, race, and ethnical background receives adequate care and treatment.

Read More: Treating Cancer With The Help Of HIV – What Should You Know About It


The CDC researchers discovered that cancer survival rates increased significantly, but differences between races are still obvious. White women have higher five-year survival rates than their black counterparts.

Prompt diagnosis and adequate treatment are the best ways to improve* the likelihood of beating cancer.

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Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

This Article Has Been Published on December 7, 2017 and Last Modified on August 11, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain Shams University. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

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