Skip Navigation

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

Office of Minority Health (OMH) Logo

Cancer and African Americans

Black/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 Black/African Americans than for non-Hispanic whites, contributing in part to a lower life expectancy for both Black/African American men and women.

  • From 2014-2018, African American men were 1.2 times and 1.5 times, respectively, more likely to have new cases of colon and prostate cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men.
  • Black/African American men are 1.8 times as likely to have stomach cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men and 2.5 times more likely to die from stomach cancer.
  • Black/African Americans men have lower 5-year cancer survival rates for most cancer sites, as compared to non-Hispanic white men.
  • Black/African American men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men.
  • From 2014-2018, Black/African American women were just as likely to have been diagnosed with breast cancer, however, they were almost 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white women.
  • Black/African American women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with stomach cancer, and they are 2.2 times more likely to die from stomach cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white women.

Diagnosis

Percentages of cancer among adults aged 18 and over, 2019
Cancer Non-Hispanic Black Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
All Sites 5.0 12.4 0.4
Breast (women) 1.1 2.0 0.6
Cervical (women) 0.5 1.4 0.3
Prostate (men)  3.0 2.8 1.1

Source: NCHS 2021. National Health Interview Survey. Interactive Summary Health Statistics for Adults – 2019. [Accessed 7/22/2021]
https://wwwn.cdc.gov/NHISDataQueryTool/SHS_adult/index.html

 

Top Cancer Sites for African Americans (2014-2018)

Cancer Incidence Rates per 100,000 – Men
Cancer Black Men Non-Hispanic White Men Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
All Sites 518.9 520.4 1.0
Colon & Rectum 49.9 42.2 1.2
Esophagus 5.8 8.5 0.7
Kidney 24.4 24.2 1.0
Liver & IBD 17.6 11.3 1.6
Lung 69.3 60.7 1.1
Myeloma 16.3 8.5 1.9
Oral Cavity & Pharynx 13.2 20.2 0.7
Pancreas 17.0 16.3 1.0
Prostate 175.8 118.9 1.5
Stomach 13.5 7.7 1.8

*IBD = Intrahepatic Bile Duct

Source: NCI 2021. Seer Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2018. Table 1.24 and SEER*Explorer [ Accessed 7/22/2021].
https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2018/; https://seer.cancer.gov/explorer/

 

Top Cancer Sites for African Americans (2014-2018)

Cancer Incidence Rates per 100,000 – Women
Cancer Black Women Non-Hispanic White Women Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
All Sites 396.4 460.2 0.9
Breast 124.7 137.9 0.9
Cervical 8.6 6.7 1.3
Colon & Rectum 37.5 32.7 1.1
Kidney 12.1 11.7 1.0
Liver & IBD 5.3 4.0 1.3
Lung 43.3 53.9 0.8
Myeloma 12.1 5.0 2.4
Pancreas 14.3 11.9 1.2
Stomach 7.7 3.8 2.0
Uterus 28.5 28.7 1.0

Source: NCI 2021. Seer Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2018. Table 1.25 and SEER*Explorer [ Accessed 7/22/2021].
https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2018/; https://seer.cancer.gov/explorer/

 

5 Year Survival Rate

Percentage of Patients - Men (2011-2017)
Cancer Black Men White Men Black/White Ratio
All Sites 64.7 66.4 1.0
Colon & Rectum 57.6 64.7 0.9
Kidney 74.6 74.8 1.0
Liver & IBD 16.2 19.3 0.8
Lung 16.4 18.1 0.9
Pancreas 9.4 10.9 0.8
Prostate 96.2 97.4 1.0
Stomach 26.5 27.9 0.9

Source: NCI 2021. Seer Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2018. Tables 1.5 and 1.6
https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2018/sections.html

 

Percentage of Patients – Women (2011-2017)
Cancer Black Women White Women Black/White Ratio
All Sites 61.4 69.5 0.9
Breast 82.4 91.3 0.9
Cervical 56.3 67.6 0.8
Colon & Rectum 60.9 65.5 0.9
Liver & IBD 21.1 19.2 1.1
Lung 23.3 25.4 0.9
Pancreas 10.9 10.6 1.0
Stomach 39.6 36.6 1.1
Uterus 22.7 28.5 0.8

Source: NCI 2021. Seer Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2018. Tables 1.5 and 1.6
https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2018/sections.html

 

Death Rate

Cancer Death Rates per 100,000 – Men (2014-2018)
Cancer Black Men Non-Hispanic White Men Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
All Sites 221.1 190.2 1.2
Colon & Rectum 22.5 16.1 1.4
Liver & IBD 13.1 8.4 1.6
Lung 55.4 49.4 1.1
Pancreas 15.0 13.0 1.2
Prostate 37.4 17.9 2.1
Stomach 7.6 3.1 2.5
Myeloma 7.3 3.9 1.9

Source: NCI 2021. Seer Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2018. Table 1.20
https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2018/sections.html

 

Cancer Death Rates per 100,000 – Women (2014-2018)

Cancer Black Women Non-Hispanic White Women Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
All Sites 150.5 137.8 1.1
Breast 27.3 20.1 1.4
Cervical 3.3 2.0 1.7
Colon & Rectum 14.8 11.5 1.3
Liver & IBD 4.8 3.6 1.3
Myeloma 5.1 2.3 2.2
Pancreas 12.0 9.6 1.3
Stomach 3.5 1.6 2.2
Uterus 8.7 4.5 1.9

Source: NCI 2021. Seer Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2018. Table 1.20
https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2018/sections.html

 

Screening

Breast Cancer

Percentage of women age 40 and over who had a mammogram within the past 2 years, 2018 (crude)
Non-Hispanic Black Women Non-Hispanic White Women Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
68.6 68.0 1.0

Source: CDC 2021. Health United States, 2019. Table 33.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus19-508.pdf [PDF 3.02MB]

 

Cervical Cancer

Percentage of women age 18 and over who had a Pap smear within the past 3 years, 2018 (crude)
Non-Hispanic Black Women Non-Hispanic White Women Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
75.1 63.7 1.2

Source: CDC 2021. Health United States, 2019. Table 34.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus19-508.pdf [PDF 3.02MB]

 

Colon Cancer

Adults aged 50-75 who had any colorectal test or procedure, 2018
Non-Hispanic Black Women Non-Hispanic White Women Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
59.2 64.0 0.9

Source: CDC 2021. Health United States, 2019. Table 35.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus19-508.pdf [PDF 3.02MB]

 

Last Modified: 8/26/2021 1:18:00 PM