Blacks With Breathing Conditions Have Higher Lung Cancer Risk

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Blacks with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -- including chronic bronchitis and some types of serious chronic asthma -- have a risk for developing lung cancer about twice as high as that of whites with the condition, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, Reuters reports.

For the study, lead researcher Carol Etzel of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and colleagues developed a risk assessment model to help predict blacks' risk for lung cancer. Researchers analyzed data on 491 blacks with lung cancer and 497 blacks without the disease to develop the tool and then compared it with the existing risk models for whites. Researchers said that blacks' high risk for COPD prompted them to develop the risk assessment model to help doctors better predict lung cancer risk.


The new model found that black men with a history of COPD had a more than sixfold increased risk of developing lung cancer, which is about the same risk for those who smoke. According to Reuters, both black and white smokers have a risk of lung cancer six times higher than that of non-smokers. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, but pollution, and other environmental factors also play a role, Reuters reports.

Etzel said, "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." The researchers now are working on a risk model for Hispanics (Reuters, 9/4).

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