Colon, breast, ovarian cancer survival rates lower in blacks than whites

Three new studies published in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society, delivered mix news to black Americans. The good? Five-year survival rates for colon, breast and ovarian cancers have been improved—from 54.7 percent for 2001-2003 to 56.6 percent for 2004-2009.

But the troubling news is that racial disparities persist, with white five-year survival rates for those same time periods were 63.7 percent and 64.6 percent, respectively.

Scientific American examined the studies, including one that focused on breast cancer survival rates. Between 2001 and 2009, the five-year survival rate was 89.6 percent for white women compared to just 78.4 for black women.

Black women were also 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed after the cancer had spread to other parts of their body.

“While some racial disparities will exist due to differences in tumor types, improving early diagnosis and providing specific treatment based on tumor characteristics in a timely fashion would result in reducing breast cancer disparities,” Miller said by email to Scientific America.

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