In a new study, researchers investigated race and ethnic influences on lung cancer incidence and mortality among women, and found that differences in lung cancer diagnosis and survival outcomes were associated with behavioral, social and clinical factors. The research article, entitled “Racial and Ethnic Variations in Lung Cancer Incidence and Mortality: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative,” was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Researchers examined racial and ethnic differences in lung cancer incidence and mortality in women using available data from the Women’s Health Initiative Study, a study that gathered information on postmenopausal women recruited from 40 clinical centers. The lung cancer diagnoses were adjusted according to pathology, and questionnaires were conducted in order to retrieve sociodemographic and health information. Through statistical models, the research team calculated incidence and mortality probability according to race/ethnicity and other personal and behavioral factors such as age, education level, calcium/vitamin D levels, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol intake, family history, oral contraceptive use, hormones, physical activity, and diet. A total of 129,951 women were included in the study, from which 83% were non-Hispanic white, 8% non-Hispanic black, 4% Hispanic, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander (API), < 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 1% of other ethnicities.
The results showed that in unadjusted models, Hispanic women had 66% lower odds of lung cancer development when compared with non-Hispanic whites, followed by Asian/Pacific Islanders and non-Hispanic blacks. In fully adjusted models, the decreased lung cancer probability of Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic whites became null. Likewise, while in unadjusted models Hispanic and API women had decreased risk of death compared with non-Hispanic black women, in fully adjusted models there were no racial/ethnic differences in the risk of lung cancer-specific death. Such results led researchers to believe, according to a news release, that the “differences found in lung cancer incidence according to race/ethnicity are associated with sociodemographic, clinical, and behavioral factors.”
“These findings suggest modifiable exposures and behaviors may contribute to differences in incidence of and mortality by race/ethnicity for postmenopausal women. Interventions focused on these factors may reduce racial/ethnic differences in lung cancer incidence and mortality.” concluded the authors in the final remarks of their research article.