Racial disparities in breast cancer survival have narrowed in recent years, but Black women with the disease still have double the death rate of white women.
That’s according to a study that tracked breast cancer trends in Florida between 1990 and 2015. Overall, deaths from the disease declined among Black, Hispanic and white women alike — with the improvement being greater among minority women.
Over time, the result was a shrinking racial disparity. In fact, the gap between white women and Hispanic women disappeared in recent years.
Unfortunately, the study found, the death rate among Black women remained almost twice as high.
“We should celebrate the progress that’s been made, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” says lead researcher Robert Hines, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, in Orlando.
Simply being a Black person, he said, should not be a risk factor for breast cancer death.
Why are Black women still facing a poorer breast cancer prognosis?
Hines says the study points to some key factors: Black women tend to be diagnosed at a later stage, and they are less likely than white women to receive surgery, radiation or hormone therapy.