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Smoking behavior partially explains socioeconomic inequities in lung cancer incidence
Date:2/24/2009

Europeans with the least education have a higher incidence of lung cancer compared with those with the highest education. However, smoking history accounts for approximately half of this risk, according to a study in the February 24 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Previous studies showed that individuals with a lower socioeconomic status have a higher risk for developing lung cancer. Some studies have also suggested that some of the excess risk of lung cancer is due to smoking.

To further investigate the contribution of smoking to the discrepancy in lung cancer incidence, Gwenn Menvielle, Ph.D., and colleagues examined the association of smoking, diet, education, and lung cancer in 391,251 individuals in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Menvielle, who conducted the research in The Netherlands at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, and the department of public health of the Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, is now at the Institut National de la Sant et de la Recherche Mdicale in Villejuif, France.

The researchers used participants' highest level of education achieved as an indicator of socioeconomic status and had smoking and diet information from questionnaires completed at study entry.

With a mean follow-up time of 8.4 years, 939 men and 692 women were diagnosed with lung cancer. Men with the lowest education had a 3.62-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with men with the highest education. Women with the lowest education had a 2.39-fold increased risk compared with women with the highest education. The association between education and cancer risk was greatest in Northern Europe and Germany. When the researchers adjusted the risk models to account for smoking, the excess risk dropped by approximately half. Diet did not appear to contribute to the inequity in lung cancer risk between participants with lowest and hi
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Contact: Caroline McNeil
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1287
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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