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Know Your Risk: Lung Cancer and Black Americans

Let’s end inequity in lung cancer prevention, detection, and treatment

Lung cancer affects Black Americans, particularly Black men, differently than their white counterparts. Black men are 11% more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer, and 9.8% more Black men die from the disease. While smoking remains the primary risk factor to developing lung cancer, about 15% of lung cancer patients do not smoke.

LCRF and the African Methodist Episcopal Church International Health Commission (AMEC IHC) have joined forces to bring awareness of the prevalence, risk factors, importance of screening, and prevention of lung cancer in Black Americans. Read more

Jesse Owens was well known as a record-breaking track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games. What isn’t as well known is that he died of lung cancer at the age of 66. Watch a short documentary on lung cancer in the Black community, featuring Owens’ daughter and grandson.


Free Guide

Download our free guide, Breathe Easy: Good News About Lung Cancer Screening, and read more about symptoms and screening.


What puts me at risk for lung cancer?

Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer and is responsible for 80% of lung cancer deaths. People who have never smoked account for 20% of lung cancer deaths.

Exposure to radon gas is the second leading risk factor of lung cancer.

Other risk factors include exposure to:

  • secondhand smoke
  • asbestos
  • radiation
  • air pollution
  • diesel exhaust
  • certain metals (arsenic, chromium, cadmium)
  • certain organic materials

Family history and genetic factors may also play a role in the development of lung cancer.

Source: American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2021. Atlanta; American Cancer Society: 2020.


How do I know if my symptoms could be lung cancer?

See your doctor if you experience any of the following common symptoms of lung cancer:

B – Blood when you cough or spit
R – Recurring respiratory infections
E – Enduring cough that is new or different
A – Ache or pain in shoulder, back or chest
T – Trouble breathing
H – Hoarseness or wheezing
E – Exhaustion, weakness or loss of appetite

Other symptoms may include swelling in the neck or face, difficulty swallowing, or weight loss.


Bristol Myers Squibb

This program is funded in part by Bristol Myers Squibb, as part of its initiative to address racial inequities in healthcare.

Additional support is provided by grants from:

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