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David S. Ettinger, MD, FACP, FCCP


Gender and Racial Disparities in U.S. Lung Cancer Mortality: A 10-Year Analysis

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Research presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2022 International Conference in San Francisco (Session A109) suggests that gender and racial disparities in lung cancer mortality persist in the United States. However, age-standardized mortality rates have steadily decreased for all racial and gender subgroups over the past 20 years, with a particularly steep drop over the past 5 years.

“Although the overall racial disparity has improved, [African American] men still have the highest mortality rates, followed by White men, White women, and [African American] women,” concluded Chinmay Jani, MBBS, of Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues. “Future studies are required to evaluate potential causes of racial and gender disparities in lung cancer mortality and guide appropriate interventions to eliminate inequalities.”

The study used the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Wonder database to identify 3,244,746 lung cancer–related deaths that occurred between 1999 and 2019. In 1999, age-standardized mortality rates were 64.7% for Black patients and 55.4% for White patients. In 2019, those rates were 34.5% and 34.2%, respectively, with Black patients experiencing a steeper relative decrease (–46.7% vs. –38.3%). This racial disparity was most pronounced among men, with Black women having rates comparable with White women in 1999 (39.9% vs. 41%) and lower than White women in 2019 (25.9% vs. 29.4%).

Age-standardized mortality rates were higher for men in 1999 (76.8% vs. 40.2%) and remained higher for men in 2019 (40.1% vs. 28.2%), despite men experiencing a larger relative decrease over that period than women (–47.79% vs. –29.85%). With the exception of White women in South Dakota (+13%), Black men in Nebraska (+14.4%), and Black women in Kansas (+22.5%), there was a decline in mortality rates between 1999 and 2019 in patients of all evaluated race and gender groups in all states. The largest single-year decline in overall rate occurred in 2014.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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