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Fast Facts

Cancer and African Americans

African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. Death rates for all major causes of death are higher for African Americans than for whites, contributing in part to a lower life expectancy for both African American men and African American women.

  • In 2009, African American men were 1.3 times and 1.6 times, respectively, more likely to have new cases of lung and prostate cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men.
  • African American men were 1.7 times as likely to have new cases of stomach cancer as non-Hispanic white men. 
  • African American men had lower 5-year cancer survival rates for lung, colon and pancreatic cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men. 
  • African American men are 2.5 times as likely to die from prostate cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men. 
  • In 2009, African American women were 10% less likely to have been diagnosed with breast cancer, however, they were almost 40% more likely to die from breast cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white women. 
  • African American women are 2.4 times as likely to have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and they are 2.5 times as likely to die from stomach cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white women.

See charts for more information


The sociology research study from The University of Texas at Austin, published in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, helps to explain why African American men are less healthy than white men

 

African American men are exposed to 28 percent more childhood adversity than white men.

 

Exposure to childhood adversity may cause stress and lead to a sequence of stressors over time that take a cumulative toll on relationships. This pathway from childhood adversity to lower quality relationships in adulthood explains part of the race disparity in health among men, something that has not been recognized in previous research. Learn more.


Two studies that analyzed the effects of strength training in older adults between ages 50 and 70 showed a 10 to 15 percent decrease in belly fat despite no weight loss.

Learn more information from the studies.

 

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