Updated: Feb 3
The incidence of pancreatic cancer is higher in African Americans than in any other racial group in the United States.
The age-adjusted incidence rate for Blacks is 15.9 per 100,000 people, while for Whites it is 13.4 per 100,000 people. Not only is pancreatic cancer more common among African Americans, but African Americans are more often diagnosed with advanced, and therefore, inoperable cancer.
African Americans also are less likely to undergo evaluation by a surgeon, and less likely to receive surgery than any other racial group in the United States. Even when their cancers are found early, African Americans also are less likely to receive surgery than any other racial group in the United States. The age-adjusted mortality rate for Blacks is 13.3 per 100,000 people, while for Whites it is 11.0 per 100,000.
Many studies have been conducted to determine why there is an increased risk of pancreatic cancer among African Americans. These studies suggest that environmental and socioeconomic factors may be important. Cigarette smoking, which causes about 25% of pancreatic cancer, is more common among African Americans and therefore may partially explain why pancreatic cancer is more common in African Americans. Other risk factors for pancreatic cancer that are more common in African Americans include diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, and being overweight. No matter what your race, we urge you to take action to reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer!