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Race & ethnicity and lung cancer

There could be a possible relationship between the biological differences in ethnicity (race) and how individuals may react to drugs, toxins and other external factors.  Numerous studies are being conducted to try to understand the differences in how biology can effect metabolism and susceptibility to certain diseases and why this seems to vary between individuals of different genetic backgrounds.

In looking at the link between smoking and lung cancer, some studies have recently shown that, while comparing similar habits, differences in the development of lung cancer occurred between various ethnic backgrounds.  For instance, in one study, Japanese Americans and Latinos were 50 percent less likely than Caucasians to develop lung cancer while having similar histories of exposure to smoking.  Yet, in the same study, African Americans and ethnic Hawaiians were 55 percent more likely under the same conditions.

In considering screening factors for lung cancer, the need for early detection may be a consideration as we learn more about the uniqueness and diversity of human biology.

(Citation: Hinman, Stram, Wilkins, Pike, Kolonel, Henderson, Le Marchand. "Ethnic and Racial Differences in Smoking-Related Risk of Lung Cancer." New England Journal of Medicine, January 26, 2006 Vol. 4, 354:333-342)