Rise in Lung Cancer Cases in Younger Women

Overall rates of cancer have decreased in recent decades, a trend that is driven in part by decreasing rates of lung cancer. However, a recent study evaluating trends in lung cancer incidence has found that incidence rates are increasing in women under the age of 50. The study evaluated rates of lung cancer in patients aged 30 to 64 years from national or subnational cancer registries from 40 countries from 1993 to 2012.

While rates of lung cancer have historically been higher in men than women, the study found that the female-to-male incidence rate ratio (IRR) has significantly shifted from men to women in the United States, Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. Rates of lung cancer varied by birth cohorts but tended to increase among women in each successive birth cohort, with highest rates seen among those born most recently. The most notable increases in female-to-male IRR were seen in individuals aged 30 to 54 years. In the United States, the most significant increases were in women between 40 and 49 years of age. Among men, lung cancer rates decreased in most countries, with greatest decreases seen in countries with robust anti-tobacco programs. For women, tobacco policies did not appear to impact lung cancer rates. 

The authors concluded that lung cancer rates appear to be rising among younger women despite decreases in tobacco usage, with adenocarcinoma representing much of the increase. Based on these results, the authors predict continued increase in lung cancer rates among women and indicated that future efforts should be directed toward identifying factors associated with these increasing lung cancer rates.

Read more about this article on Medscape Medical News.

Int J Cancer. 2020 Feb 5. [Epub ahead of print.]


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