Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

African-Americans' attitudes about lung cancer may hinder prevention

Date:
February 22, 2010
Source:
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Summary:
A new survey has found that African-Americans are more likely than whites to hold mistaken and fatalistic beliefs about lung cancer, as well as being more reluctant to consult a doctor about possible symptoms of the disease, according to researchers. These attitudes among blacks may help explain the puzzling racial disparities in lung cancer treatment outcomes that have been documented over the past 25 years.

A new survey has found that African-Americans are more likely than whites to hold mistaken and fatalistic beliefs about lung cancer, as well as being more reluctant to consult a doctor about possible symptoms of the disease, according to researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and their collaborators.

These attitudes among blacks may help explain the puzzling racial disparities in lung cancer treatment outcomes that have been documented over the past 25 years, and highlight the need for clearer, more direct public health messages directed at African-Americans, say the scientists.

Christopher Lathan, MD, MPH, an oncologist in the Division of Population Sciences at Dana-Farber, is the first author of the report in the journal Cancer. Senior author is Gary Bennett, PhD, of Duke University's Global Health Institute.

Both whites and blacks in the survey "grossly underestimated" the bleak outlook associated with a diagnosis of lung cancer -- only 15 percent of patients survive for five years. Lung cancer is the most lethal cancer in the United States, and among people diagnosed with the disease, African-American men have the highest incidence and mortality. Blacks tend to be diagnosed later than whites, when the disease is more advanced.

Federal data quoted in the paper say that the 2001-2005 incidence rate of lung cancer for white men was 79.3 per 100,000 vs. 107.6 per 100,000 for African-American men, and the mortality rate for white men with lung cancer is 71.3 per 100,000 vs. 93.1 per 100,000 for African-American men. This survival gap was first detected in the early 1980s, and continues today.

Previous studies have suggested that the disparity may be due in part to differences in access to care, rates of surgery, and patient preferences, Lathan says. The current study was undertaken to find out "if African-Americans think about lung cancer in a different way," explains Lathan.

Using a random-digit phone dialing method, the investigators queried patients who had been participants in the National Cancer Institute's 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS).

Both black and white respondents greatly overestimated the percentage of lung cancer patients who survive 5 years or longer -- many said 50 percent when the true number is 15 percent.

There were three survey questions on which blacks and whites diverged significantly. African-Americans were more likely than whites (53 percent vs. 37 percent) to say they were confused by too many recommendations on how to prevent lung cancer. "This is shocking," says Lathan. "There is only one recommendation to decrease the chance of getting lung cancer. Stop smoking and avoid tobacco smoke."

When asked whether the disease is caused by lifestyle and behavior, 73 percent of blacks agreed, compared to 85 percent of whites.

Among blacks, 22 percent said they would be reluctant to be checked for lung cancer symptoms out of fear of receiving bad news. Only 9 percent of whites agreed with this statement. In addition, 51 percent of African-Americans believed that they would have symptoms before a diagnosis of lung cancer, versus 32 percent of whites.

The researchers concluded, "African Americans are more likely to hold beliefs about lung cancer that could interfere with prevention and treatment."

"We really need to target out lung cancer education to communities of color," says Lathan. "And we need to deliver really clear messages: Stop smoking if you want to prevent lung cancer. You should go to see your doctor. And we should let people known that lung cancer is deadly -- more deadly than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined."

Other authors of the report are Cassandra Okechukwu, DSc, of the University of California at San Francisco and Bettina F. Drake, PhD, MPH, formerly of the Center for Community-Based Research at Dana-Farber and now at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher S. Lathan, Cassandra Okechukwu, Bettina F. Drake, and Gary G. Bennett. Racial differences in the perception of lung cancer: 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Cancer, Published Online: February 22, 2010 DOI: 10.1002/cncr.24923

Cite This Page:

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "African-Americans' attitudes about lung cancer may hinder prevention." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222081919.htm>.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (2010, February 22). African-Americans' attitudes about lung cancer may hinder prevention. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222081919.htm
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "African-Americans' attitudes about lung cancer may hinder prevention." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222081919.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins