Skip to content

    Lung Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Lung Cancer in Black Relative Ups Family's Risk

    Highest Risk Seen in Close Relatives of Blacks With Lung Cancer Before 50
    By
    WebMD Health News

    June 21, 2005 -- Men and women with a black brother, sister, child, or parent who had lung cancer before age 50 may have a higher risk of lung cancer.

    That's also true for families with a white relative who had lung cancer at an early age. But the risk is twice as high for relatives of black patients, says a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    "First-degree relatives of black individuals with early onset lung cancer have greater risk of lung cancer than their white counterparts, and these risks are further amplified by cigarette smoking," write researchers.

    Study: Consider Family History

    The take-home message: Pay attention to family history of early onset lung cancer, say the researchers, who included Michele Coté, PhD, of Wayne State University's Karmanos Cancer Institute.

    If someone in the family had lung cancer before age 50, that should be considered a lung cancer risk factor in their children, parents, or siblings who are at least 18 years old, notes Coté's study.

    If doctors know about risk factors beyond tobacco use in their young adult patients, they may be more likely to consider lung cancer in those people. Earlier diagnosis and treatment could make a big difference in the disease's outcome, write researchers.

    When Lung Cancer Strikes

    "Cigarette smoking has long been established as the major risk factor for lung cancer in the general population," write the researchers. However, lung cancer risk can also run in some families beyond smoking. The greatest risk is in families in which lung cancer strikes before 50, say Coté and colleagues.

    In 2004, there were 173,770 new cases of lung cancer in the U.S. Few cases -- 6.7% -- were diagnosed before age 50, says the study.

    Today on WebMD

    Xray analysis
    Do you know the myths from the facts?
    chest x-ray
    Get to know them.
     
    woman taking pills
    Tips to managing them.
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    Lung Cancer Risks Myths and Facts
    SLIDESHOW
    Woman getting ct scan
    Article
     
    Improving Lung Cancer Survival Targeted Therapy
    VIDEO
    cancer fighting foods
    Article
     
    Lung Cancer Surprising Differences Between Sexes
    VIDEO
    Pets Improve Your Health
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
    Lung Cancer Surgery Options
    VIDEO