The association of race and marital status with survival during a 10 year period after a breast cancer diagnosis is described. The data for this study were obtained from the Metropolitan Detroit Cancer Surveillance System, a participant in the National Cancer Institute's SEER program. The study sample was 10,778 women (85.6% white and 14.4% black) diagnosed with incident invasive breast cancer between 1973 and 1978. Marital status was significantly associated with race, but had only a weak relationship with length of survival in a multivariate model predicting 10 year survival. However, race was strongly related to survival. African American women were significantly more likely than white women to die from breast cancer after controlling for age at diagnosis, marital status, tumor stage, histologic type, treatment status, and the interaction of age with stage. Ten years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, 38.2% of whites, compared with 33.3% of blacks were still living. These data confirm a body of literature which finds that blacks experience a shorter survival period following a cancer diagnosis than do whites. However, the relationship of marital status to cancer survival is still unclear and needs further study.