African American People and Cancer

Compared to members of other races, Black and African American people have higher rates of getting and dying from many kinds of cancer.

  • Black people have the highest death rate for cancer overall.
  • Black people have a lower overall 5-year cancer survival rate than White people.
  • Black people are more likely than White people to be diagnosed with female breast, lung, and colorectal cancers at a late stage. Cancer is harder to treat after it spreads from the place where it started to other parts of the body.

Many cancers can be prevented. Staying away from tobacco smoke, keeping a healthy weight, drinking little or no alcohol, and getting human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations on time can lower the risk of getting cancer. Screening tests can prevent some cancers or find them early, when treatment works best. Some of these risk factors vary by race and ethnicity.

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