A cancer mystery in black and white

Released: 
August 29, 2013

While cancer incidence is down for all Americans, African-Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with and die from cancer.

Wednesday was the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, an historic outpouring of support for African American civil and economic rights. President Obama highlighted progress for African Americans in his address, but also pointed out that the journey to equality is not over. Gaps do still exist, and though the economic inequalities are the most prominent and talked about, they're not the only ones. Today, we take a look back at a fact about another sort of inequality in the healthcare arena.

Good news: cancer incidence is declining for all Americans. Sobering and perplexing fact: African-Americans are more likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with, and die from, cancer. In fact, the mortality rate for blacks has been higher for years. In 2010 the trend continued; 216 of every 100,000 blacks died of cancer, compared to 177 of every 100,000 whites.

The disparity is unexplained but researchers suspect economic, cultural and medical factors. Todays infographic lays out the numbers; click on the image above to see it full-size. And for a deeper dive into the issues surrounding cancer in America, see What Do Others Say below. Then join the discussion below - what factors do you think are causing this divide? What should we do to address it?