Report Addresses Lung Cancer Rate in African-Americans

They are more likely to develop, die of the disease; ALA looks at potential reasons, gives action plan
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- African-Americans are more likely to develop lung cancer -- and to die from it -- than any other population group in the United States, and a new report by the American Lung Association provides information to help stakeholders understand and address the issue.

According to the report "Too Many Cases, Too Many Deaths: Lung Cancer in African Americans," African-American men in particular are at risk -- they are 37 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than white men, despite having lower overall exposure to cigarette smoke. The report outlines potential reasons why African-Americans have higher rates of lung cancer, including marketing efforts aimed at them, beliefs that interfere with positive health behaviors, socioeconomic status, and environmental exposures.

The report says that African-American men are 22 percent more likely than white men to die of lung cancer, and lays out reasons why their mortality rate may be higher. These reasons include unequal access to health care and quality of care, racism, and social stress. The report concludes by describing the progress that has been made in reducing lung cancer rates among African-Americans, and laying out steps for government agencies, health plans, medical education programs and other stakeholders to take.

"Although there has been a decrease in the overall lung cancer death rates for African-Americans and others, the disparity by race persists. Progress in overcoming the disparity and lowering the lung cancer death rate has been made. Cooperative work, however, is yet to be done," the authors write.

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