Breast cancer rates among African American women have increased to the point that they are converging with rates among white women, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians has shown.1

According to the report, breast cancer incidence rates have increased by 0.4% per year among African American women from 2008 to 2012, and 1.5% per year among Asian/Pacific Islanders; however, rates remained constant among whites, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives.

Researchers at the American Cancer Society found that overall breast cancer incidence rates converged between African American and white women in 2012 due to the increasing breast cancer incidence rates among African Americans and stable incidence rates among white women.

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Results also showed that incidence rates were higher in African Americans than whites in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The authors suggest that the increase in incidence rates may be due to the increasing rates of obesity.

In regard to mortality rates, despite lower incidence rates among African American women, mortality rates continued to be higher in African American women than white women, with a 42% higher death rate due to breast cancer among African American women in 2012. The researchers expect that this trend in mortality rate disparity is likely to continue.


1. DeSantis CE, Fedewa SA, Goding Sauer A, et al. Breast cancer statistics, 2015: convergence of incidence rates between black and white women [published online ahead of print October 29, 2015]. CA Cancer J Clin. doi:10.3322/caac.21320.