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HEALTH Report: Cancer more fatal for blacks



Published: Sat, February 8, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



YOUNGSTOWN -- Black people are more likely to develop and die of cancer than any other racial or ethnic group, the American Cancer Society says.

The ACS said blacks are about one-third more likely to die of cancer than whites and more than twice as likely to die of cancer as all other racial categories.

The inaugural edition of "Ohio Cancer Facts & amp; Figures for African Americans" shows that the cancer burden is heaviest among this population.

The publication examines overall incidence and survival rates in the black community and profiles the impact of breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, prostate and stomach cancer. It is jointly produced by the Ohio Division of the American Cancer Society, Ohio Department of Health, and the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University.

The study shows that nationally, the five-year survival rate between 1992 and 1998 in the total population for all cancers combined was 62 percent, but it is only 53 percent among blacks.

"The causes for racial differences in cancer risk are not completely understood," said Dr. J. Nick Baird, ODH director.

"Reasons may include diet and lifestyle choices as well as genetic factors. Later diagnosis of disease also contributes to these numbers," he added.

In 2002, about 130,800 black Americans were expected to be diagnosed with cancer, and 63,500 were expected to die, the ACS said.

Boosting survival

Factors such as early diagnosis can improve greatly the probability of survival after five years. Unfortunately, cancer among black Americans frequently is diagnosed after the disease has spread, an ACS spokesman said.

"One of the priorities of the American Cancer Society is to address the specific needs of diverse populations and positively impact their survival from cancer," said Don McClure, chief executive officer of the cancer society's Ohio Division.

Al Stabilito, communications director of the Mahoning Valley ACS, said prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in black men, and breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in black women.

Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among all other males and females, he said.

XTo obtain a copy of "Ohio Cancer Facts & amp; Figures for African Americans," call (888) 227-6446. This information also can be found on the American Cancer Society Web site at www.cancer.org.




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