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Breast Cancer Mortality Continues to Drop

But black patients and other ethnic and racial minorities have not experienced the same gains as white patients

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer death rates continue to drop in the United States, likely due to advances in early detection and treatment. Yet significant racial disparity persists, with black patients 36 percent more likely to die of the disease than whites, according to a report released from the American Cancer Society on Sept. 25.

The report, entitled "Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2007-2008" reflects the latest data on incidence, mortality, prevention, detection and treatment of breast cancer.

Between 2001 and 2004, breast cancer incidence declined by 3.7 percent per year for whites, and remained stable for black patients. Overall mortality rates dropped by 2.2 percent per year between 1990 and 2004, yet the decline among black patients was only 1.6 percent per year.

"Taken together, this report highlights the remarkable gains we've made in the fight against breast cancer," comments John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, in a statement. "But it also puts into focus the challenge before us: to close the gap so all Americans can reap the benefits equally, and to ensure that no American woman faces an increased risk of dying from breast cancer because of her race or ethnicity or became of lack of access to quality care."

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