Research shows breast cancer mortality rate has fallen 43% since the ‘80s

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 4:22 PM EDT
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(CNN) - Fewer people are dying from breast cancer, according to a report from the American Cancer Society.

However, the latest numbers from the organization show disparities continue to significantly impact the health of Black women.

Improved research, better treatments and screenings have all led to fewer people dying of breast cancer.

“The peak year was 1989. And since then, the breast cancer mortality rate has actually fallen by 43%,” Dr. Bill Dahut, chief scientific officer with the American Cancer Society, said.

But the latest numbers from the American Cancer Society aren’t shifting fast enough in the right direction for Black women.

The organization says overall, a Black woman is about 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than a white woman.

”If you’re a Black woman between the ages of 20 and 29, you’re actually at double the risk of dying from breast cancer than a white woman of the same age,” Dahut said.

The American Cancer Society says it’s important to make sure health care is adequate for everyone.

”Women of color, particularly Black women, are not always having their mammograms, or their facilities are not always the best. They’re not always called back as appropriately, and not always given the same opportunities for some of our newer therapies,” Dahut said.

Screenings are key, but the organization says there was a dip in mammograms during the height of the pandemic and over a million fewer people went to their annual screening.

”It’s important if you do have cancer, that we find it really early because then we can do something about it,” Dahut said.

Over the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society has started a campaign called “Grab Your Girls” to encourage women to get screened.