The racial gap for breast cancer deaths is closing, particularly among younger women, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.
Breast cancer death rates are down overall for both white and black women, though there’s still a disparity between the races. Between 2010 and 2014, death rates dropped faster among white women than among black women, about 2 percent a year versus 1.5 percent, according to the study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, among women under 50, the death rate was the same for both races, the researchers found.
“We hope that the signal we are seeing in younger women we will see in older women as time progresses,” said lead author Dr. Lisa Richardson. She’s director of the division of cancer prevention and control at the CDC.
“Historically, black women have had higher mortality rates and they still do overall, but for women under 50 the diseases are the same, and that’s something we have not seen previously,” she said.
The biggest difference between the races in the drop in breast cancer deaths was among women ages 60 to 69. For these women, rates dropped 2 percent per year among white women and 1 percent among black women, Richardson said.
The declines in deaths are largely due to more education about breast cancer, cancer screening and better treatment, she said.