Lung Cancer More Prevalent in Young Women than Young Men in the United States

M.A., Health Writer

A new collaborative study from the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute finds a previous trend of more lung cancer occurring in men has reversed in the groups of non-Hispanic white and Hispanic women born since the mid-1960s. These findings can't be totally attributed to "sex differences in smoking behaviors," the authors said in their study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Data came from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) in people ages 30 to 54 from 1995 through 2014 in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The authors cited a decrease in age-specific lung cancer incidence in both genders, 30 to 54 years, in all races and ethnic groups, with steeper declines for men.

"The prevalence of cigarette smoking among women born since 1965 has approached, but generally not exceeded, the prevalence among men," the authors also said. What's behind these higher rates in women? It could be types of lung cancer that affect each gender and the reduction in risk after quitting smoking that's associated with these types. They don’t eliminate men and women's differences in susceptibility to the health hazards of cigarette smoking.

Lung cancer is the source of more preventable deaths than any other cancer in the United States. The authors encourage future studies to look further at this complex public health topic.

Sourced from: The New England Journal of Medicine