HomeAsian AmericansNon-smoking Asian women have higher rates of lung cancer than other non-smokers

Non-smoking Asian women have higher rates of lung cancer than other non-smokers

Lung cancer rates are in decline across almost group, except non-smoking Asian American women, whose rates are increasing by 2% every year, a California study found. 

While 20% of all lung cancer cases are found in non-smokers, the study found that of Asian American women who have lung cancer, over 50% of that group are nonsmokers, according NBC News

The study, published in PubMed, also reported that the percentage of nonsmoking rose to 80% to 90% for Chinese and Indian American women with lung cancer.

“We have to find out more of the causes,” said Jeffrey Velotta, co-author of the study, to the American Journal of Managed Care. “I think that this brings to the forefront, that this is a problem, we need to study this problem, and we need to take it more seriously. Something that we’re working on next is to figure out, what is the issue? What are the main causes?”

This discrepancy made researchers curious to discover the causes for this phenomenon, including scholars working on two ongoing studies at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and New York University (NYU). 

The study was done in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente in Northern California and UCSF, named the Female Asian Never Smoker (FANS) study, surveyed and tested local Asian women to identify factors including what they cook with, where they are found and if people in their household smoke, the American Journal of Managed Care reported. 

Dr. Latha Palaniappan, a physician at Stanford University who is not a researcher on the study, told NBC News that the FANS study allows scholars to “understand associations, and the study can give us an idea for more rigorous analyses going forward.”

The study by NYU, although not complete, found that lung cancer screening in non-smoking Asian American women is suitable, if not better,” than testing elderly, white smokers, NYU researchers said at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, according to NBC News

“There is hope; there’s a lot of progress in the lung cancer world,” said Aurora Lucas, who was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer at 28 years old despite having never smoked, to NBC News. “I can’t change the system because it’s broken, but I can help people advocate for themselves and learn.”

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