Fewer women are dying from breast cancer in the United States, but disparities remain between blacks and whites, according to the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2009-2010, reports HealthDay News.

Although breast cancer death rates continue to decline by 2 percent yearly among all races, black women are 40 percent more likely to die from the disease, statistics indicate.

The good news, however, is that better treatments and an increase in mammogram screenings have lowered death rates, said Ahmedin Jemal, MD, strategic director of surveillance at the American Cancer Society.

In addition, a larger decline is possible with more targeted treatment, access to mammograms and more treatment for the poor and uninsured, Jemal said in the article. But in the past two years, only 30 percent of uninsured women had mammograms, which are essential for higher breast cancer survival rates.

“If breast cancer is caught early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent, but if you catch it late the survival rate is only 24 percent,” Jemal said.

Harold L. Burstein, MD, PhD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, also expressed his feelings about the progress in the war against breast cancer.

“We are winning because we have a better infrastructure, because we have educated patients and doctors, because we do have new tools becoming available, because we have new insights into the biology of cancer,” Burstein said. “All those things are making a difference.”

Learn about breast cancer screenings here.