Rates Drop for New Lung Cancer Cases in the US

Anti-tobacco efforts have led to a decrease in the rate of new lung cancer cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study, published in the January 10, 2014 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, looked at rates from 2005 to 2009, the latest year for which data is available.

The study found that the rate of new lung cancer cases for all age groups combined declined 2.6% per year among men and 1.1% per year among women. The fastest drop was among adults aged 35 to 44 years, decreasing 6.4% per year among men and 5.9% per year among women. Men aged 35 to 44 years had slightly lower rates of new lung cancer cases than women in the same age group.

“These dramatic declines in the number of young adults with lung cancer show that tobacco prevention and control programs work – when they are applied,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH in a statement.

The differences in rates between men and women reflect trends in cigarette smoking. Women began smoking regularly in large numbers decades later than men. As more women smoked, their rates of lung cancer incidence increased. Since 1964, when the first US Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health was published, men stopped smoking at faster rates than women.

The study indicates that continued anti-tobacco efforts are needed to further reduce cigarette smoking and tobacco use – and thus lung cancer rates.

“While it is encouraging that lung cancer incidence rates are dropping in the United States, one preventable cancer is one too many,” said Dr. Frieden in a statement. “Implementation of tobacco control strategies is needed to reduce smoking prevalence and the lung cancer it causes among men and women.”

Although people who don’t smoke also get lung cancer, most efforts to prevent lung cancer emphasize tobacco control because evidence shows that at least 80% of lung cancer is caused by smoking. Strategies proven to reduce tobacco use include price increases, smoke-free laws, advertising restrictions, mass media campaigns, and community engagement.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Lung Cancer Incidence Trends Among Men and Women – United States, 2005-2009. Published in the January 10, 2014 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. First author S. Jane Henley, MSPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.

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