Black Men Have Significantly Higher Rates of Male Breast Cancer Mortality

Black men more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age than white men.

Black men more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age than white men.

Black men have significantly higher mortality rates from male breast cancer compared with white men, the results of a recent study indicate.

Among black and white men under 65 years of age who received similar treatment for early-stage breast cancer, black males had a 76% higher risk of death than whites. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study indicated the disparity was significantly reduced after accounting for insurance and income disparities.

Male breast cancer comprises less than 1% of all cancers in men and approximately 2% of all breast cancers nationwide, the study noted. Black men not only have a higher incidence of the disease, but are also more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age than white males.

The researchers evaluated 9231 men, 18 years of age and older who were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer between 2004 and 2011. Treatment patterns were generally similar among the patients analyzed.

But while older black men did not have a significantly greater mortality risk than white counterparts, younger black males had a 76% greater mortality risk than younger white makes.

This disparity was significantly less after accounting for differences in insurance and income, however. The researchers suggest poverty may play a key role in the racial disparities found in male breast cancer mortality.

The study noted that the greater mortality risk in younger blacks compared with younger whites who received similar treatment may be a result of differences in quality of care, drug adherence, hormone receptor status, or other unmeasured variables.

"Although this finding is encouraging it could be influenced by the rarity of male breast cancer, differences in receipt of treatment between men and women, and/or other unmeasured factors and requires further research,” the study authors wrote. “In the coming years, it will also be important to examine whether the implementation of the Affordable Care Act attenuates or removes the excess risk of death in younger black men diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer."