Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans

About 189,910 new cancer cases were expected to be diagnosed among blacks in 2016. The most commonly diagnosed cancers among black men are prostate (31% of all cancers), lung (15%), and colon and rectum (9%). Among black women, the most common cancers are breast (32% of all cancers), lung (11%), and colon and rectum (9%).

African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the US for most cancers. A continuous reduction in cancer death rates in blacks since the early 1990s has resulted in more than 300,000 cancer deaths averted over the past two decades. Death rates have dropped faster during the most recent time period in blacks than in whites for all cancers combined and for lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer (in women only). As a result, racial disparities for these cancers have narrowed. In contrast, the racial disparity has widened for breast cancer in women and remained constant for colorectal cancer in men, likely due to inequalities in access to care, including screening and treatment.

Cancer facts such as these are presented in this updated edition of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts and Figures for African Americans. This publication provides updated cancer research facts about cancer among African Americans, including statistics on cancer occurrence, in-depth statistics on selected cancers, and risk factor statistics for African Americans, as well as information about prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Please note that any reproduction or re-use should credit the appropriate American Cancer Society Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans publication and include a statement of copyright and identify the data source used.

Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans publications are available for free download as full-text PDF files here:

Cancer Facts and Figures for African Americans 2016-2018 is accompanied by “Cancer Statistics for African Americans, 2016,” a scientific paper published in the American Cancer Society journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.