(HealthDay News) — With earlier detection and better treatment, the mortality rate from breast cancer has fallen over the last two decades; black women, however, still die from the disease at a disproportionately higher rate than white women, according to research published in the Nov. 13 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Kathleen A. Cronin, Ph.D., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues used United States Cancer Statistics data to calculate breast cancer incidence, stage, and mortality for women in the United States during the period of 2005 to 2009, and to calculate black to white mortality ratios as well as mortality to incidence ratios.

The researchers found that a greater proportion of black women, 45 percent, were diagnosed at regional or distant cancer stage, compared with 35 percent of white women. Also, although breast cancer is seen less frequently in black women than in white women, at about 117 cases per 100,000 women versus 122 cases per 100,000 women, black women have a 41 percent higher mortality rate.

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“Despite significant progress in breast cancer detection and treatment, black women experience higher death rates even though they have a lower incidence of breast cancer compared to white women,” the authors write.

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