Breast cancer mortality rates dropped by 39% from 1989 through 2015, according to a study in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Researchers estimate that 322,600 deaths were averted as a result. The declines were attributed to increased mammography screenings and better treatments.
There is still much more room for improvement inasmuch as breast cancer remains the most common cancer affecting women. There will be about 252,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed this year; 40,600 women are expected to die from the disease.
Researchers did a demographic breakdown finding, among other things, that breast cancer mortality was 39% higher among black women compared to white women. That actually represents an improvement from 44% in 2011.
“A large body of research suggests that the black-white breast cancer disparity results from a complex interaction of biologic and nonbiologic factors, including differences in stage at diagnosis, tumor characteristics, obesity, and comorbidities as well as access, adherence, and response to treatments,” the study states.