While studies have found that the mortality rate of cancer has been decreasing in the United States since the 1990s, the African American population has a higher mortality rate as compared to other races. In particular, both the incidence and mortality rates of all cancers combined were higher among black men as compared to other races. Similarly, while white women have the highest incidences of cancer, black women have the highest cancer mortality rates.
Studies have shown that socioeconomic status, access to health care, health behaviors and exposure to carcinogens contribute to health disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes. The inability to pay for care associated with cancer, receive early screenings, ability to take the time off to receive care and risky health behaviors, such as unhealthy eating and smoking cigarettes, contribute to the higher incidence and worse outcomes of cancer.
The CBC Health Braintrust is committed to tackling cancer-related health disparities and working to improve access to quality care to reduce the mortality rates of cancer in the African American community.