For Immediate Release: September 15, 2011
Contact: CDC Media Relations
Lung cancer rates decline nationwide
Report shows a continuing decline among men, and a promising decline among women
The rates of new lung cancer cases in the United States dropped among men in 35 states and among women in 6 states between 1999 and 2008, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among women, lung cancer incidence decreased nationwide between 2006 and 2008, after increasing steadily for decades.
The decrease in lung cancer cases corresponds closely with smoking patterns across the nation. In the West, where smoking prevalence is lower among men and women than in other regions, lung cancer incidence is decreasing faster. Studies show declines in lung cancer rates can be seen as soon as five years after smoking rates decline.
The report also noted that states that make greater investments in effective tobacco control strategies see larger reductions in smoking; and the longer they invest, the greater the savings in smoking–related health care costs. Such strategies include higher tobacco prices, hard–hitting media campaigns, 100 percent smoke-free policies, and easily accessible quitting treatments and services for those who want to quit.
“Although lung cancer among men and women has decreased over the past few years,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “too many people continue to get sick and die from lung cancers, most of which are caused by smoking. The more we invest in proven tobacco control efforts, the fewer people will die from lung cancer.”
Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer that affects both men and women, and is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause most lung cancer deaths in the United States. To further reduce lung cancer incidence, intensified efforts to reduce smoking are needed.
For this report, researchers analyzed lung cancer data from CDC′s National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute′s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. They estimated smoking behavior by state using the CDC′s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Study findings include:
- Among men, lung cancer rates continued to decrease nationwide.
- From 1999 to 2008 lung cancer rates among men decreased in 35 states and remained stable in nine states (change could not be assessed in six states and the District of Columbia).
- States with the lowest lung cancer incidence among men were clustered in the West.
- After increasing for years, lung cancer rates among women decreased nationwide between 2006 and 2008.
- Lung cancer rates decreased between 1999 and 2008 among women in California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
- Lung cancer rates among women remained stable in 24 states, and increased slightly in 14 states (change could not be assessed in six states and the District of Columbia).
Smokers can get free resources and help quitting by calling 1–800–QUIT–NOW (784–8669) or visiting www.smokefree.gov.
The study is published today in CDC′s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. To read the full report, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr. For information about CDC′s cancer prevention and control program, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer; and to learn more about CDC′s tobacco control efforts, visit www.cdc.gov/tobacco.
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