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Minority Populations Being Screened Less for Lung Cancer

August 02, 2018

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By Sara Bondell

A new study shows a need for more screening programs tailored to high-risk minority patients.

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) compared results from the 2011 National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) to more recent data collected in an inner city, minority-based population. Results from the NLST showed that lung cancer screening based on age and smoking history reduced lung cancer deaths by 20 percent. However, only 4.5 percent of the NLST participants were African American; and while overall lung cancer incidence and death have been declining in the United States, African Americans have the highest death rate compared to other races.

Analysis using the UIC data, which included 70 percent African American participation, found more than double the amount of lung cancers at first screening compared to the NLST.  

Their results, published in JAMA Oncology, concluded that screening that is skewed toward the white population could increase racial disparities in lung cancer outcomes.

"Clearly, concerted efforts are needed to reach out to minority populations and physicians that treat these populations to educate and emphasize the importance of preventions like smoking cessation and screening and early detection," said cancer epidemiologist Dr. Matthew B. Schabath. "Smoking cessation at any age will greatly reduce the risk of lung cancer and many other diseases, and lung cancer screening is critical as early stage cancer is often curable. Earlier detection saves lives."

Moffitt offers a comprehensive lung screening program and has been named in a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance. Click here for more information and to find out if you’re eligible for lung cancer screening.