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Lung Cancer Incidence Trends Among Men and Women—United States, 2005–2009

January 10, 2014 / Vol. 63 / No. 01

MMWR Introduction


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer (excluding skin cancer) among men and women in the United States. About 80%–90% of lung cancers are attributed to cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke.

To assess lung cancer incidence and trends among men and women by age group, CDC used data from the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program for the period 2005–2009, the most recent data available. During the study period, lung cancer incidence decreased among men in all age groups except <35 years 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.

Since 1964 when the first Surgeon General's report on the health consequences of smoking was published, cigarette smoking cessation rates increased and cigarette smoking initiation rates decreased more rapidly among men than women. As a result, cigarette smoking behaviors have become more similar among men and women, especially among those born more recently. Subsequently, the gap in lung cancer between men and women has been reported to be diminishing. This report shows that differences in lung cancer incidence between men and women narrowed with decreasing age, and that among adults aged 45 years, men had slightly lower rates of lung cancer than women.