Breast Cancer in African American Women

Breast Cancer in African American Women Breast cancer is the most common cancer among African American women. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death among African American women, exceeded only by lung cancer In 2011, an estimated 26,840 new cases of breast cancer and 6,040 deaths were expected to occur among African American women.

Breast cancer incidence in African American women is lower than in white women overall. However, for women younger than 40, incidence is higher among African American women than white women.

Breast cancer mortality (death) is 41 percent higher in African American women than in white women. Although breast cancer survival in African American women has increased in recent decades, survival rates remain lower than among white women. For those diagnosed from 2002 to 2008, the five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer among African American women was 78 percent compared to 92 percent among white women.

Node Positive Breast Cancer

Invasive Breast Cancer

There are many possible reasons for this difference in survival including:

Breast Cancer Treatment Team

  • Biologic and genetic differences in tumors
  • Prevalence of risk factors
  • Barriers to health care access
  • Health behaviors
  • Later stage of breast cancer at diagnosis
  • Breast cancer screening rates among African American women are similar to those among white women Learn more breast cancer screening among African American women.