Is lung cancer color blind?

Any kind of cancer is scary. Lung cancer is brutal and it’s the most common type of cancer in the U.S. with more than 220,000 cases diagnosed a year, according to the American Cancer Society’s 2010 estimate of new cases.

Lung cancer is also more deadly for African-Americans than for white Americans, but that difference is not at its root due to race, according to a study of 130,517 lung cancer patients diagnosed between 2003 and 2008. It may be because African-Americans have less access to care.

Researchers at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia found that after adjusting for factors such as the age of the patient, the stage of their cancer, and the type of treatment they underwent, “African-American race was not an independent prognostic factor for poor survival.”

A higher percentage of black patients presented at a later state and a lower percentage received surgery, and these factors may have contributed to a lower [median overall survival] compared to whites,” according to the study, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

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