We examined differences in reported upper-body limitations between black and white breast cancer cases and controls aged 40 to 84 years at 3 and 12 months after diagnosis in the Detroit metropolitan area (n = 954 cases and 1000 controls at 3 months; n = 879 cases and 909 controls at 12 months). At 3 months black cases were more likely than white cases to report limitations in upper-body strength (30.4 versus 19.8%). No difference was found between black and white controls (8.0 versus 9.4%). At 12 months, the proportion of white patients with upper-body limitation returned to the same level as white controls. Black patients with limitations, however, did not return to the same level as black controls. Stage of disease was strongly associated with upper-body limitations, especially for black women. Race and stage differences in upper-body limitation could not be explained by differences in breast cancer treatment, financial adequacy, education, marital status, or comorbidity. Recommendations are made for more comprehensive studies of rehabilitation.