Cancer Statistics for African American/Black People 2022

Every 3 years, the American Cancer Society estimates the number of new cancer cases and deaths for Black people in the United States and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence (herein through 2018), mortality (through 2019), survival, screening, and risk factors using population-based data from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. African American/Black individuals have a disproportionate cancer burden, including the highest mortality and the lowest survival of any racial/ethnic group for most cancers.


  • In 2022, there will be approximately 224,080 new cancer cases and 73,680 cancer deaths among Black people in the United States. 
  • During the most recent 5-year period, Black men had a got cancer at a 6% rate but the death rates were rate 19 % higher, including an approximately 2-fold higher risk of death from myeloma, stomach cancer, and prostate cancer. 
  • However, the decline in prostate cancer mortality in Black men slowed from 5% annually during 2010 through 2014 to 1.3% during 2015 through 2019, likely reflecting the 5% annual increase in advanced-stage diagnoses since 2012. 
  • Black women have an 8% lower incidence rate than White women but a 12% higher mortality; further, mortality rates are 2-fold higher for endometrial cancer and 41% higher for breast cancer despite similar or lower incidence rates. 

Why Is This Important: We cannot account for these statistics based on genetics. Some researchers are ready to throw out race as a factor in research, but I am studying differences in outcomes for self-described Black people. To illustrate the point…Black women are often not notified of positive pap smears or notified at all.  It remains the case that if you are self-described Black, you will do less well with cancer. So, if not race, then Black Americans must be treated differently in the health care system. If we are to turn these statistics around, we need earlier detection, better access to care and more aggressive care. That is what I mean t by improving health equity.

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