'Hispanic paradox' holds true for lung cancer

April 23, 2012, 12:33 p.m.

Latinos with lung cancer tend to live longer than black or white people with the disease. (Credit: J E/Flickr Creative Commons)

Being Latino may be one of the most effective ways to improve chances of surviving lung cancer.

A new study appearing in the journal Cancer found that Latino people with the disease tend to live longer than black or white people who have it.

According to MSN/HealthDay, researchers looked at diagnosis and survival data from a national database that pools information from U.S. cancer registries. They then identified 172,398 adults who had any stage of the most common kind of lung cancer – non-small cell lung cancer – at any point between 1988 and 2007.

Of those patients, reports MSN/HealthDay, both U.S.-born and immigrant Latinos had a 15 percent lower chance of dying during the study than did whites. The study also reported that Hispanics' odds of survival are better despite facing more obstacles to affordable health care and a higher poverty rate in general.

That's referred to as the "Hispanic paradox" in medical circles, where Latinos tend to have more favorable outcomes with certain diseases despite the fact that socioeconomic factors seem to be stacked against them.

The study's authors also noted that Latinos were more likely to be diagnosed with a less serious form of lung cancer.

Lead author of the study Ali Saeed was unsure of the exact reasons that Latinos have more favorable outcomes with lung disease, citing possible "genetic predispositions" or "lower smoking rates" in a statement.

"This is important because it shows that our findings are indicative of the Hispanic population in general and not specific to specific groups of Hispanics," said Saeed. The press release also mentioned that the so-called Hispanic paradox is seen for breast cancer, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The Los Angeles Times' Mapping L.A. project reports that 56.7 percent of South Los Angeles is Latino.

Photo by J E via Flickr Creative Commons.

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