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Black women are now being diagnosed with breast cancer at the same rate as white women, reports the American Cancer Society.

Charli Penn
Oct, 30, 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness month comes to a close with disappointing news for Black women.

Although research has shown that breast cancer is more likely to be deadly in Black women, in the past Black women were less likely to be diagnosed with the disease. According to a shocking new report from the American Cancer Society that is no longer true.

In the United States, for the first time in history the number of incidents of breast cancer found among Black women equals that of white women. For decades, black women had lower breast cancer rates than whites, but that gap has narrowed in recent years. From 2008 to 2012, breast cancer rates rose by 0.4 percent a year among black women, while remaining stable among whites and Hispanics, the cancer society has said.

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This is problematic for Black women and their families for many reasons. Statistics show that Black women are diagnosed with breast cancer at much younger ages than white women and also dire from the disease at younger ages, with the median age for diagnosis being 58 for Black women and 62 for white women.

By 2012, overall breast cancer rates among blacks and whites converged and researchers say rates for black women now exceed those of whites in seven states: Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

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“It is a crisis,” Marc Hurlbert, chief mission officer for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation tells The New York Times. “The increasing incidence is unfortunate because the mortality rate for black women is already so much higher, and now if more women are getting breast cancer, then unfortunately, the number of black women dying from the disease will go up.”

Sadly, the data also shows that Black women are at a significant disadvantage compared to white women when it comes to benefiting for the recent medical advances in diagnosis and treatment according to recent data.