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Blacks With Lung Disease Face Increased Cancer Risk

Men with prior history of COPD 6 times more likely to develop malignancy, study suggests.

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  • (SOURCE: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, Sept. 5, 2008)

    FRIDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A new lung cancer risk assessment designed specifically for black Americans suggests that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a much greater lung cancer risk factor for blacks than for whites.

    Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston analyzed data from 491 black lung cancer patients and 497 blacks without lung cancer to identify risk factors for the disease.

    A comparison of risk factors for blacks with a previously established risk prediction model for whites revealed that black men with a prior history of COPD have a more than six-fold increased risk of lung cancer, similar to the increased risk associated with smoking. The lung cancer risk among black men with COPD is about two times greater than among white men with COPD.

    The findings were published in the September issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

    "The one-size-fits-all risk prediction clearly does not work," Carol Etzel, assistant professor of epidemiology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, said in an American Association for Cancer Research news release.

    Etzel and her colleagues also found that black smokers had a more than six-fold increased risk of lung cancer, and former smokers had a more than three-fold increased risk. Blacks with hay fever are 44 percent less likely to develop lung cancer, a risk reduction similar to that seen in whites.

    The rate of lung cancer among black American males is 110.6 per 100,000, compared with 81 per 100,000 among white males. The lung cancer death rate among black males is 95.8 per 100,000, compared with 72.6 per 100,000 among white males. Black and white women have similar lung cancer incidence and death rates.

    The lung cancer risk prediction model for blacks is part of an ongoing project to establish risk models for different ethnic groups, including one under development for Hispanics.

    "What we hope is that a doctor can use these models to encourage their patients to take steps to prevent lung cancer. Even if they are never smokers, they can be at risk," Etzel said.

    More information

    The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about lung cancer risk.

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