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Free Content Lung disease mortality in the United States: the National Longitudinal Mortality Study

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SETTING: The National Longitudinal Mortality Study (NLMS) offers the advantage of assessing mortality in a representative population of the United States.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate health disparities associated with lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) mortality in the United States and whether these associations are similar between these outcomes.

DESIGN: The NLMS is a prospective study. Data from NLMS cohort years 1985, 1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996 were included, representing nearly 1.5 million person-years. Lung cancer and COPD mortality relative risks (RRs) from Cox regression analysis, including residential characteristics, marital status, education, health insurance and family income, were evaluated.

RESULTS: By 1998, 1273 lung cancer deaths and 772 COPD deaths occurred. Lung cancer mortality rates were approximately two times higher than COPD mortality rates among race and ethnic groups. Cox regression analysis revealed that low education (RR = 1.77, significant, P = 0.01) and low family income (RR = 1.50, significant, P = 0.01) are associated with lung cancer and COPD mortality, controlling for age, race/ethnicity, sex and smoking status.

CONCLUSIONS: COPD and lung cancer mortality have similar associations with health disparity indicators in the NLMS data, with some differences in the magnitude of the effect.
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Keywords: cancer; education; health disparities; income; lung diseases; mortality

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Surveillance Research Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 2: Office of Healthcare Inspections, Office of Inspector General, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, District of Columbia, USA 3: United States Census Bureau, Suitland, Maryland, USA

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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