USPSTF: Why do more black women die from breast cancer?

Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, and more evidence is needed to determine whether they should be screened for breast cancer differently, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's (USPSTF) sixth annual report to Congress.

The report, titled "High-Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services," lists screening for breast cancer in African-American women as an area with "key evidence gaps," and it states that although black women and white women have comparable breast cancer incidence rates, black women have higher death rates.

This disparity may be due to differences in disease epidemiology -- black women are disproportionally affected by more aggressive and treatment-resistant forms of breast cancer, according to the USPSTF -- or it could be due to socioeconomic differences and health system failures, the task force said.

"There is a need for high-quality evidence to determine whether the recommendations on screening for breast cancer should be different for African-American women than for the overall population of women," the USPSTF said. "Studies are needed to determine whether screening African-American women more often or earlier than the general population would result in more benefit and less harms."

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