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Smoking tied to cancer death burden in African-American men

The overall cancer death rate for African-American males would drop by nearly two-thirds — without any other intervention — if their exposure to tobacco smoke were eliminated, a new study suggests. The study appeared in the May issue of the journal Preventive Medicine.

"African-American men have had the highest cancer burden of any group in this country for decades," said study author Bruce Leistikow, associate professor of public health sciences at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center. "This study demonstrates, for the first time, that smoke exposure appears responsible for African-American males' high overall cancer mortality rates, not just their lung cancers."

Increasingly, research has linked smoking to deadly cancers other than lung cancer, including cancers of the colon, pancreas and prostate. In his study, Leistikow found compelling data suggesting that tobacco smoke exposure is responsible for more than half the non-lung cancer death rate in African-American males and up to two-thirds of their overall cancer death rate.

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