HONOLULU (KHON2) – University of Hawaii was just awarded $700,000 to study the role of racism in lung cancer risk. 

Their Cancer Center researchers in collaboration with the University of Southern California, and University of California, San Francisco, will work together to gather information on this rarely studied topic.

The National Cancer Institute funded study will examine different measures of structural racism, like residential segregation, to understand how present racial and ethnic inequities in Native Hawaiians, Black and African Americans, Japanese Americans and Latinos contribute to different smoking behaviors and lung cancer risk. 

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The study is led by UH Cancer Center researchers. S. Lani Park and Iona Cheng said they are looking to find and understand the laws that contribute to this problem.  

“Understanding how inequitable laws and policies contribute to smoking behaviors and lung cancer risk may help to make great strides toward reducing the racial and ethnic disparities of lung cancer,” said Park.  

Structural racism is a form of racism rooted in laws, policies and social forces that sustain racial and ethnic health injustices. 

There is not a lot of research investigating the influence of structural racism on smoking behaviors and lung cancer risk. Conducting this research may help to explain population inequities in disease risks.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women.

While it is well-documented that smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer, smoking alone does not explain the difference in disease risk across racial and ethnic groups. 

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To read the full report by University of Hawaii at Manoa about getting $700,000 for their research head to their website