Lung Cancer: Four Things Blacks Need to Know

lung cancer

Lung Cancer: Four Things Blacks Need to Know

Blacks are 50% more likely to die from lung cancer than other groups.

Published May 17, 2012

The world is in mourning from the recent news that Donna Summer recently died from lung cancer. Did you know that Blacks are 50% more likely to die from lung cancer than other groups?


Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. Your lungs are two spongy organs in your chest that take in oxygen when you inhale and release carbon dioxide when you exhale.


Lung Cancer Facts


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, among both men and women. Lung cancer claims more lives each year than do colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers combined.


People who smoke have the greatest risk of lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer increases with the length of time and number of cigarettes you’ve smoked. If you quit smoking, even after smoking for many years, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer.


Lung cancer typically doesn’t cause signs and symptoms in its earliest stages. Signs and symptoms of lung cancer typically occur only when the disease is advanced.


Signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:


—A new cough that doesn’t go away

—Changes in a chronic cough or “smoker’s cough”

—Coughing up blood, even a small amount

—Shortness of breath

—Chest pain



—Losing weight without trying

—Bone pain



Why Blacks Need to Learn More About This Disease


According to Christopher S. Lathan, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues reported online in Cancer, significantly fewer African Americans than Caucasians thought lung cancer is caused by behavior or lifestyle and significantly more expected symptoms prior to diagnosis.


“Given the presentation of lung cancer, these beliefs could have an effect on prevention messages, seeking appropriate medical care for symptoms, and the physician-patient interaction with regard to seeking and accepting treatment,” the researchers wrote.


For more on lung cancer, visit




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(Photo: Getty Images)

Written by Lorraine Jones,


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