Blacks are less likely than whites to develop breast cancer but are more likely to die from it, doctors have long known. Blacks also are diagnosed at younger ages and at later stages of disease according to a study by University of Michigan Comprehensive Centre.
"Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. An estimated 178,480 new cases and 40,460 deaths from it are expected in the United States this year," the study reported.
Cancer Association of South Africa's research on "Indice of Historically Diagnosed Cancer in South Africa" also indicated that black women comprised the largest proportion of all female cancer cases, constituting 44.1% and 41.7% in 1998 and 1999 respectively. The second-highest proportion of all female cancer comprised white females who constituted 40.3% of all female cancers in 1998 and 41.3% in 1999. One half of all male cancer cases in the two years were white males, whilst black males comprised about one third of all male cancer cases. In line with South African demographics, the Asian population had the lowest number of reported cases.
This is an indication of how dangerous this disease can be especially on women.
Furthermore, one in 5 males (1 in 4 males when adjusted for under-reporting) was at risk of developing cancer in 1999. Cancers of the prostate, lung, oesophagus, colorectal and bladder - in that order - were the five leading cancers in males, excluding skin cancers.And One in 6 females (1 in 5 females when adjusted for under-reporting) was at risk of developing cancer. In 1999, cancers of the breast, cervix, colorectal, oesophagus and uterus, in order, were the five leading cancers in females excluding skin canners.
"The incidence rates of the cancer of the uterus among South African women are on average twofold lower than those reported in developed countries and are about twofold higher than those reported in most developing countries."
These include the incidence rates in black South African women, which are lower than in other South African population groups, but are higher than uterine rates reported in most developing countries, said the report.