Facts & Figures



Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, 2009-2013

The states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi share several traits relating to breast cancer incidence and mortality among women less than 45 years old. These relate to incidence, biological tumor markers, and mortality.

In 2009-2013, young white women in each of these states experienced lower breast cancer incidence than counterparts in the overall U.S., significantly lower in Alabama and Mississippi. In contrast, black women in each state were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than in the U.S. as a whole, and this difference was significant in Mississippi. (All U.S. incidence rates are based on data compiled by the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.) Table 1 shows the average annual incidence rates and number of new cases for each state.

One factor that indicates worse prognosis for breast cancer patients is the combination of negative estrogen receptors, negative progesterone receptors, and negative HER-2 receptors. For these women, the common chemotherapies now available will not halt the spread of their disease. Throughout the U.S., black women are more likely to be “triple negative” than are white women. In the 0-44 age-group, approximately 20% of black women with breast cancer are triple negative, versus about 12% of white women. This pattern is true in each of the three Southern states. Table 2 summarizes the counts and percentages of women diagnosed with this characteristic each year in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.


Mortality rates for black women are higher in each of the three states than in the U.S. as a whole although this difference does not reach statistical significance. Mortality among white women is the same as—or lower than--the U.S. rate. These death figures roughly reflect the incidence rates: Higher among blacks in the South and lower among whites in the South than nationwide. Table 3 shows the average annual mortality rates and counts.