According to data put forward by a new American Cancer Society report, the rate of occurrence of breast cancer among African-American women in the United States is same that that of the country’s white women.

This finding has left health officials deeply worried as statistics show that breast cancer has always been more deadly among black women than they are among the whites. So, far the reasons to worry were comparatively less as the disease was not as common in black women as it was in the whites. However, now as the rate of incidence seems to have equalized, it can be said that breast cancer will be responsible for more deaths among African-American women.

Breast Cancer research Foundation’s chief mission officer Marc Hurlbert said that this finding is sign of a big crisis. He added that the rise in occurrence of breast cancer in black women is extremely unfortunate as mortality rate among them is already much higher compared to other ethnic groups. According to Hurlbert, if more black women start developing the disease, the number of African-Americans dying from breast cancer will automatically go up.

The facts put forward by the ACS report have painted a pretty grim picture about the state of breast cancer affected black women. They have shown that the advances in treatment and diagnosis, which succeeded in improving overall survival rates and saved several lives in the past few years, haven’t been much beneficial for the black women in the US.

Must Read: Breast cancer rates among African American women increasing, American Cancer Society finds

The report has revealed that by almost all measures of breast cancer, for instance, age of death, age of diagnosis, stage of diagnosis, and so on, the African-Americans are at significant disadvantage compared to the whites.

Experts are saying that the reasons behind this rise are complex. They believe that increase in obesity rates is largely responsible for the rise of breast cancer occurrence in black women. Some researchers are saying that changes in reproductive patterns might also have a major role to play. For those who don’t know: these days, more than more black women have started delaying childbirth and having fewer children that they used to have earlier, both of which are known risk factors of the disease.