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Statewide Cancer Disparities Persist for African-Americans

Madison, Wisconsin - Wisconsin’s report card on racial cancer disparities shows wide gaps in cancer incidence and deaths when comparing African-Americans and whites.


The Cancer Health Disparities Initiative of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center put together a 1995-2010 report card based on data from the Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System.


“An analysis of cancer incidence and death data over the period shows while both have decreased over the last few decades, not all people in Wisconsin have benefited equally,” said Amy Williamson, lead author of the report.


The report says that in most cases, African-Americans had consistently higher rates of new cancers and cancer deaths as compared to whites. Rates of new cases of cancer in African-Americans ranged from 15 percent higher than whites to 73 percent higher, depending on the cancer site. Rates of African-American deaths ranged from 31 percent to 75 percent higher than whites depending on the type of cancer.


There were just a few exceptions to the cancer disparities. For example, rates of new breast cancer cases were lower for African-Americans than for whites over virtually the entire period.


“The disparities show a stark impact on human lives,” said Williamson. “For example, in 2010, 192 African-American cancer deaths would have been avoided had they experienced the lower age-specific cancer death rates of whites.”


Williamson said the data are useful to community organizations, clinicians, researchers, advocates and policy makers who are committed to closing the gaps between African-Americans and whites.


Despite efforts to reduce them, disparities in cancer incidence and mortality have increased over the last 16 years for several cancer sites. The increases were particularly large for colorectal-cancer incidence and mortality and for breast-cancer mortality. But for other cancer sites, there has been progress in reducing disparities, particularly for lung cancer.


The report was funded by the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.

Date Published: 07/21/2014

News tag(s):  researchcancer

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Statewide Cancer Disparities Persist for African-Americans

Last updated: 07/22/2014
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