Esophageal cancer rates drop for blacks

We have for many years reported on health disparities based on race or ethnicity, with minorities often showing higher rates for many diseases and conditions, so this study comes almost as a shock. The age-adjusted esophageal cancer death rate for black men and black women younger than 65 decreased by 38% and 47%, respectively, from 1990 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

The death rate increased for white men in that age group by 26% from 1990 to 2002 before stabilizing the rest of the decade. For white women the rate stayed about the same. In 2010, esophageal cancer death rates were nearly 40 per 100,000 population for white and black men under 65 and nearly 10 per 100,000 population for white and black women in the same age group.

A study by the National Cancer Institute notes that of the two types of esophageal cancer — adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma — the former is the most common because of its rising incidence, “particularly in white men.” The NCI says that about $1.3 billion is spent in the United States each year to treat esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer death rates by race and sex

Esophageal cancer death rates by race and sex

Rates are per 100,000 population. Rates have been revised by using populations enumerated as of April 1, for 2000 and 2010, and intercensal estimates as of July 1 for all other years. Therefore, the rates might differ from those published previously.

Deaths from esophageal cancer include those coded as C15 in the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) and as 150 in the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9).

*In 1999, ICD-10 replaced the ICD-9 for mortality tracking (e.g., on death certificates — not for payment purposes). Little change was observed in the classification of esophageal cancer deaths from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics System

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