• Only 35% of African-American men 50 years and older, compared with 44% of white men of the same age, have been screened for prostate cancer within the past year, despite their higher risk of prostate cancer.

In regard to most major cancers, African-Americans were likely to be diagnosed at more advanced stages and to have poorer 5-year survival rates. “These disparities largely reflect unequal access to health care and other socioeconomic factors,” said Otis W. Brawley, MD, Chief Medical Officer at ACS. “More can and should be done to make sure all Americans have equal access to cancer prevention, early detection, and state-of-the-art treatments.”

The higher incidence of cancer risk factors and more limited access to health care among African-Americans help explain the disparities they experience:


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  • 20% of African-Americans are uninsured, compared with 11% of whites.
  • 28% of African-Americans, compared with 10% of non-Hispanic whites, live below the Federal poverty line.
  • 59% of African-American women and 25% of African-American girls are obese, compared with 33% of white women and 15% of white girls.
  • Only 37% of African-American adults, compared with 51% of non-Hispanic white adults, meet ACS recommendations for physical activity; 41% of African-American adults and 31% of white adults get virtually no physical activity.

The differences that exist show there is an ongoing need to change how these patients are managed in order to improve their outcomes. In the words of Dr. Brawley, “More can and should be done to make sure all Americans have equal access to cancer prevention, early detection, and state-of-the-art treatments.”


Poll: Learning that African Americans are at higher risks for some cancer types, are you more likely to encourage additional screenings for this patient population?

  • Yes
  • Only if there are other risk factors present

  • No

Click here to vote.