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Cancer. 2012 Apr 1;118(7):1910-8. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26479. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Racial and regional disparities in lung cancer incidence.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.



Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States (US). We examined data from 2004 to 2006 for lung cancer incidence rates by demographics, including race and geographic region, to identify potential health disparities.


Data from cancer registries affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR), and the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) were used for this study; representing 100% of the US population. Age-adjusted incidence rates and 95% confidence intervals for demographic (age, sex, race, ethnicity, and US Census region), and tumor (stage, grade, and histology) characteristics were calculated.


During 2004 to 2006, 623,388 people (overall rate of 68.9 per 100,000) were diagnosed with lung cancer in the US. Lung cancer incidence rates were highest among men (86.2), Blacks (73.0), persons aged 70 to 79 years (431.1), and those living in the South (74.7). Among Whites, the highest lung cancer incidence rate was in the South (75.6); the highest rates among Blacks (88.9) and American Indians/Alaska Natives (65.4) in the Midwest, Asians/Pacific Islanders in the West (40.0), and Hispanics in the Northeast (40.3).


Our findings of racial, ethnic, and regional disparities in lung cancer incidence suggest a need for the development and implementation of more effective culturally specific preventive and treatment strategies that will ultimately reduce the disproportionate burden of lung cancer in the US.

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