Smoking linked to more than 60 percent of overall cancer death burden in black men

s for the years 1969 through 2000. Throughout this 31-year period, he found that the non-lung cancer death rate closely shadowed the smoke exposure rate. Non-lung cancer mortality rose about 34 percent among black males during the first two decades of the study period, paralleling a steep rise in smoke exposure. During the final decade of the study, from 1990 through 2000, the mortality rate dropped 11 percent, as smoking declined.

"During two decades of a steep rise, and a subsequent decade of steep fall, U.S. black male smoke exposures and non-lung cancer death rates have moved in near-perfect lockstep up and down. The associations are very strong and have been consistent year-by-year for over 30 years," Leistikow said.

African-American male cancer burdens first surpassed white levels in the 1950s. Their cancer mortality rate excess peaked in 1995, at 44 percent above the rate for white males.

According to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall age-adjusted cancer death rate for African-American men is 330.9 deaths per 100,000 individuals, compared to 239.2 for white men. In New York, the overall cancer death rate for black males is 256.7. In California, it's 309.3.

In 1950, before the onset of what Leistikow terms their "cigarette epidemic," the overall cancer mortality rate was 178.9 for black males versus 210 for white males.


Contact: Claudia Morain
University of California, Davis - Health System

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