Breast Cancer Survival Remains Lower For Black Women Interview with:
“Family Weekend 2014-Breast Cancer Walk” by Nazareth College is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr. Jacqueline Miller, MD
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC What efforts have proven successful in reducing racial disparities like these?

Response: While some racial disparities will exist due to differences in tumor types, improving early diagnosis and providing specific treatment based on tumor characteristics in a timely fashion would result in reducing breast cancer disparities. What do women most need to know about breast cancer prevention and treatment?

 Response: Currently, there is no known way to prevent breast cancer, but women should understand their own risk for developing breast cancer, including their family history.

There are some risks that can’t be changed, but women can help lower their risk of developing breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake, avoiding exposure to environmental chemicals, and limiting use of hormone therapy.

There are many treatment options based on the size and type of breast cancer you have. Women should talk to their doctor about these treatment options, goals of their treatment, and possible side effects. Be sure to ask if you don’t understand anything and feel free to get a second option to be sure you are making the right choice for you. What main message would you hope for the general public to take away from this report?

Response: Breast cancer survival was more than 10 percentage points lower for black females than for white females, and this difference persisted over time. Reducing racial disparities in survival remains a challenge that requires broad, coordinated efforts at the federal, state, and local levels. Monitoring trends in breast cancer survival can highlight populations in need of improved cancer management and treatment.  What other points, if any, would you like to make?

Response: Screening can find breast cancer early when treatment is most effective. The key to improving survival is early detection and appropriate treatment.

CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), provides low-income, uninsured, and underserved women access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. Currently, the NBCCEDP funds all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 6 U.S. territories, and 13 American Indian/Alaska Native tribes and tribal organizations to provide screening services for breast and cervical cancer. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Miller, J. W., Smith, J. L., Ryerson, A. B., Tucker, T. C. and Allemani, C. (2017), Disparities in breast cancer survival in the United States (2001-2009): Findings from the CONCORD-2 study. Cancer, 123: 5100–5118. doi:10.1002/cncr.30988

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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