Detroit top in U.S. for lung cancer mortality

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Compared with other cities, Detroit has one of the highest mortality rates in the U.S. for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to research presented at CHEST 2011, the 77 th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, in Honolulu Oct. 22-26.

Using data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, researchers from the McLaren Regional Medical Center in Flint, Michigan and the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis studied differences in cancer-specific survivalby ethnicity in Detroit and other city registries. They found differences in mortality between the registries which could reflect differences in healthcare access and tumor presentation.

Ali M. Eskandar, MD, of the McLaren Regional Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed the SEER database and identified a total of 105,522 cases of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and 3,094,764 cases of NSCLC from 1973 to 2007. Among the city registries, Detroit showed the lowest survival rates, with only the registry encompassing the entire state of Iowa having a higher prevalence of SCLC and NSCLC for all races.

Once the registries were broken down further by race and condition, they showed other significant differences. Among NSCLC patients only, the results showed a number of differences between regions, including:

  • In white NSCLC patients, rural Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana have worse survival than Detroit.
  • In black NSCLC patients, only Iowa had lower survival than Detroit. There was no difference in mortality among black NSCLC patients when comparing Detroit to New Mexico, Seattle, Utah, Alaska or Kentucky.
  • For other non-white NSCLC patients, Alaska had worse survival than Detroit.

Among white SCLC patients, only Utah and California (excluding Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose-Monterey) had worse survival than Detroit. There was no difference in mortality between Detroit and other registries among black and other non-white SCLC patients.

The researchers said the results should lead to more studies aimed at identifying factors leading to differences in mortality rates.