Younger women are getting lung cancer more often than younger men. Experts say cigarette smoking is a major reason, but it’s not the only one.
Overall, rates of lung cancer have fallen over the past two decades.
That’s the positive news.
And it’s true for men and women aged 30 to 54, regardless of race or ethnic group.
But younger women — previously at lower risk — are now at greater risk of getting lung cancer than younger men.
This analysis comes from a collaborative study between the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.
The researchers looked at incidences of lung cancer according to sex, race or ethnicity, and age. They included people born from 1945 to 1980 and those diagnosed from 1995 to 2014.
The researchers also examined the prevalence of cigarette smoking from 1970 to 2016.
The researchers found that white and Hispanic women born since the mid-1960s have higher rates of lung cancer than men in that age group.
“While prevalence of smoking among men and women has converged over the past several decades, smoking prevalence among women has still generally not exceeded that of men,” said Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD, vice president of the Surveillance and Health Services Research Program at the American Cancer Society, in a press release.
“We do not believe sex differences in smoking behavior explain our finding of a gender crossover. For example: the crossover also occurred among Hispanics, even though smoking continues to be less common in young Hispanic women than young Hispanic men,” he added.
The study authors say more research is needed to identify reasons for the trend.
For men and women, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
Cigarette smoking is a contributing factor
Cigarette smoking is a contributing factor in about 80 percent of lung cancer deaths each year.
People still smoke. But efforts to get people to quit smoking, or not start at all, have had an impact.
Dr. Robert McKenna Jr. is a thoracic surgeon at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California.
He told Healthline that California has been ahead of the rest of the country in fighting cigarette use.
“It’s shown a significant decrease in incidence of lung cancer in California compared to other states,” he said.
McKenna suggested that when it comes to lung cancer, the most important thing by far is reducing the use of cigarettes.
In past generations, women were much less likely to smoke. Those who did tended to start later and smoke less.
That’s no longer the case.
Smoking behaviors in women born since 1965 have been closer to that of their male counterparts. But they’re still not smoking more than men.
Study authors point out that the health hazards of cigarette smoking might be different in men and women.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Ann Pietrangelo on HealthLine
Published: June 7, 2018
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