Lung Cancer Incidence, Lung Cancer Mortality, Health Disparities, Lung Cancer Screening, Smoking


Medicine and Health Sciences | Neoplasms


This study analyzes the extent of racial and ethnic disparities in lung cancer in Illinois as compared to national trends. Cancer registry data were used to compare lung cancer incidence, mortality and stage at diagnosis rates for non-Hispanic (NH) white, NH Black and Hispanic Illinois residents. Hospital discharge data were used to compare medical and surgical admission and screening rates. Smoking across race and ethnic groups was compared using data from the Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to determine the extent to which disparities might be related to smoking prevalence. Rate ratios for NH Black and Hispanics compared to NH whites were used to determine the significance of differences and to compare to national data. Despite having a lower prevalence of ever smoking compared to NH whites, NH Blacks had higher lung cancer incidence, mortality, and diagnosis with distant stage disease. NH blacks had more lung cancer medical admissions, but lower surgical admission and screening rates as compared to NH whites. Hispanics had much lower rates of lung cancer incidence and hospital care but had the highest rate of diagnosis at distant stage (61.4% as compared to 50.3% for NH whites). Illinois NH Black versus NH white rate ratios were 1.17 for incidence and 1.24 for mortality as compared to national estimates of only 1.07 and 1.04, respectively. Addressing lung cancer disparities will require a stronger effort to reduce tobacco use in minority communities where smoking is often a response to very high levels of chronic stress. This will require culturally sensitive, community-based messaging and cheaper, more accessible smoking cessation alternatives, plus more equitable access to high-quality preventive health care.

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