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06/17/2010

Why African American smokers get more lung cancer...

The University of Minnesota has announced that "researchers at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center are teaming up with researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of Hawaii to figure out why African Americans and Native Hawaiians are far more susceptible to getting lung cancer from cigarette smoking than other ethnic and racial groups."

The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, is providing a $10.7 million grant for the study, which is led by Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., at the U of M.

85% of lung cancers can be linked to cigarette smoking (many of the remaining, I point out, are due to radon gas exposure that seeps into your home — get your home tested for 20 bucks by calling Olmsted County Public Health at 328-7500).

"African Americans who smoked fewer than 10, or between 10 and 20 cigarettes per day, were from 2.5 to almost 5 times more likely to develop lung cancer than Japanese Americans and Latinos who smoked the same amount. They were about 2 times (1.75 to 2.2) more likely to get lung cancer than whites who smoked the same amount," the U of M announcement says.

Also, "although African Americans are less likely than whites to be heavy smokers, they have a higher risk of getting smoking-related lung cancer" and the risk for Native Hawaiians is similar to that of African Americans (a term I use and the U of M appears to use, to indicate multi-generational Americans rather than, for example, first generation Somali-Americans living in southeast Minnesota).

Pulse on Health

By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists

Health Reporter for the Post-Bulletin newspaper, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 

Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

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