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Black People Have an Increased Chance of Passing Away from Certain Cancers

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Black people have a greater chance of passing away from specific types of cancer, according to a new study released by the American Cancer Society. 

Published in the ACS Journal, the study, titled “Cancer Statistics, 2023,” examined cancer cases from 2014 to now. In their results, the researchers concluded that prostate cancer is amongst the biggest issues for Black men. Compared to other racial and ethnic groups, they’re the demographic that’s most at risk for cancer, with a two to four increased chance of receiving a diagnosis and passing away. 

Meanwhile, Black women are more likely to pass away from cancers such as uterine cancer and breast cancer. As breast cancer continues to rise 0.5% each year since the mid-2000s, Black women are recording some of the highest breast cancer rates of mortality. Although they are four percent less likely to get breast cancer, Black women have a 40% higher mortality rate for this cancer.

As for uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, the Cancer Society adds that while it’s the fourth most common cancer among women, it’s listed as number 24 in the National Cancer Institute’s funding list. The study points to a lack of research as the reason for the lower funding and survival rate amongst Black women. While white women have an 84% chance of surviving after receiving a diagnosis of uterine cancer, Black women have only a 64% chance.

The authors of the new study point to racial inequality in the cancer screening process and in the health world overall as the reason behind these lower rates of survival.

“Racial disparities in cancer occurrence and outcomes are largely the result of long-standing inequalities in wealth that lead to differences in both risk factor exposures and access to equitable cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment,” said the researchers in their study.

“Ultimately, disproportionate wealth stems from hundreds of years of structural racism, including segregationist and discriminatory policies in criminal justice, housing, education, and employment that have altered the balance of prosperity, security, and other social determinants of health.”

Over the years, cancer rates have continued to increase. Just this year, in the first month of 2023, nearly two million cancer cases are projected; almost 610,000 of these cases are projected to pass away.

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is behind just heart disease in terms of the most common causes of U.S. deaths.

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