Differences in lung cancer incidence between men and women narrow with decreasing age.
Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer death and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer, aside from skin cancer, among men and women in the U. S. As many as 90% of lung cancers are thought to be caused by smoking and secondhand smoke, and a major focus in reducing lung cancer is prevention.
To assess lung cancer incidence and trends among men and women by age group, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) used data from the National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program for the years 2005—2009, the most recent data available. The researchers found that lung cancer incidence decreased among men in all age groups except those under age 35 and decreased among women aged 35–44 years and 54–64 years. Lung cancer incidence decreased more rapidly among men than among women and more rapidly among adults aged 35–44 years than among other age groups.
Between the years 2005—2009, a total of 569,366 invasive lung cancer cases among men and 485,027 among women were reported in the U.S. Lung cancer incidence was highest among those over age 75 and decreased with decreasing age. In all age groups except people aged <35 years and 35–44 years, lung cancer incidence rates were higher among men than among women; this difference was greatest among those aged ≥75 years and narrowed with decreasing age. From 2005 to 2009, lung cancer incidence decreased among men in all age groups except those aged <35 years and among women, lung cancer incidence decreased among those aged 35–44 and 55–64 years and was stable in all other age groups. Lung cancer incidence rates decreased most rapidly among adults aged 35–44 years, decreasing 6.5% per year among men and 5.8% per year among women.
Although many factors might have contributed to this decline, a study of 44 states showed that strong tobacco control indicators were correlated with lower lung cancer incidence rates among adults age 20—44 years. The researchers concluded that a coordinated, multicomponent approach to tobacco prevention and control is needed to reduce tobacco use, and younger adults might be more sensitive than older adults to interventions such as increased tobacco prices.
Henley SJ, Richards, TB, Underwood JM, et al. Lung Cancer Incidence Trends Among Men and Women — United States, 2005—2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014; 63:1-5.