The 5-year cancer survival rate for African Americans has risen 54% since the 1970s but continues to be lower than that of whites, particularly for colon cancer, according to the American Cancer Society report.
Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database show that the 5-year relative survival rate in 2002-2008 was 60% for blacks, 69% for whites, and 68% for all races. Those numbers are all up significantly since 1975-77, when the rates for all cancers were 39% for African Americans, 50% for whites, and 49% for all races, the ACS reported.
The differences between blacks and whites varied among specific cancer sites. In 2002-2008, the 5-year survival for colon cancer was 55% for blacks and 66% for whites. For melanoma, the rate was 70% for blacks and 93% for whites. For kidney and renal pelvis cancer, however, the rates were much closer: 70% for blacks and 72% for whites. The only sites for which African Americans had higher survival rates were the brain (41%, compared with 34%) and the stomach (28%, compared with 27%), the ACS said.