Cancer death racial gap narrows, but still higher for blacks

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By Associated Press

For a long time, blacks have died of cancer at higher rates than other Americans. But a new report says the gap is narrowing.

Nearly 30 years ago, black men had a 47 higher cancer death rate than white men, says an American Cancer Society report released on Thursday. Now it’s 19 percent higher. Black women had a 19 percent greater cancer death rate. Now it’s 13 percent greater.

Cancer deaths have dropped for all Americans, but the rates have fallen faster in blacks than whites. The biggest declines were in lung, prostate and colon cancers.

Experts say the main reason is that smoking rates fell more dramatically in blacks in the past 40 years, and that’s paying off in fewer deaths now. Another reason is more blacks are getting screened.