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Lifestyle, Not Race, Plays Major Role in Lung Cancer Survival

Lifestyle, Not Race, Plays Major Role in Lung Cancer Survival

Race does not play a stastically significant role in lung cancer patients'survival, a recent analysis shows. Instead, cigarette use, stage of disease, and other factors appear to be reasons more African-Americans die of lung cancer than their Caucasian counterparts, the analysis indicates.

The analysis reviewed 1,565 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who were treated on cancer research studies conducted by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG).

"We looked at possible factors that could influence survival," says Dr. Jim Cox, Professor of Radiotherapy at the University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "We found that age, sex, weight loss, stage of disease, and the amount of symptoms patients had when they were diagnosed with lung cancer affected survival. For example, older patients with later stage disease and more symptoms tended to have a shorter survival time," says Dr. Cox, an author of the study. Race did not make a statistically significant difference, he says.

Smoking rates among African-American adults are higher than those for Caucasians. Black smokers are more likely to smoke higher tar and nicotine brands than are white smokers, and smoking higher tar brands is associated with higher lung cancer incidence and mortality rates, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

"I strongly believe we can make a positive difference inshows. Instead, cigarette use, stage of disease, and other factors appear to be reasons more African-Americans die of lung cancer than their Caucasian counterparts, the analysis indicates.

The analysis reviewed 1,565 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who were treated on cancer research studies conducted by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG).

"We looked at possible factors that could influence survival," says Dr. Jim Cox, Professor of Radiotherapy at the University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "We found that age, sex, weight loss, stage of disease, and the amount of symptoms patients had when they were diagnosed with lung cancer affected survival. For example, older patients with later stage disease and more symptoms tended to have a shorter survival time," says Dr. Cox, an author of the study. Race did not make a statistically significant difference, he says.

Smoking rates among African-American adults are higher than those for Caucasians. Black smokers are more likely to smoke higher tar and nicotine brands than are white smokers, and smoking higher tar brands is associated with higher lung cancer incidence and mortality rates, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

"I strongly believe we can make a positive difference in the survival rates of lung cancer patients," says Dr. Cox. "We know smoking is deadly. People need to take responsibility. They should quit smoking whether they have lung cancer now or not. If they do have lung cancer they also need to seek the best quality of care-such as the kind of care that is found in clinical trials," he says.

 
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