Lung cancer on the rise in young white and Hispanic women

  • Jemal A & al.
  • N Engl J Med
  • 24 May 2018

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • The incidence of lung cancer is much higher in young women than in young men, but only among non-Hispanic white and Hispanic women.
  • With 1 exception, the increased incidence in this age group is not explained by smoking habits.

Why this matters

  • This reverses a long history of a higher incidence of lung cancer in men compared with women and points to a need for intensified antismoking measures among young women.

Study design

  • Patients with lung cancer diagnosed from 1995 to 2014 from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and smoking trends from the National Health Interview Survey.
  • Funding: American Cancer Society.

Key results

  • Overall female-to-male lung cancer incidence increased, exceeding 1.0 in the age groups 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, and 45-49 years.
  • Incidence generally decreased in men in successive birth cohorts, increased in women born around 1950-1960, and decreased in women born later.
  • Higher incidence in women occurred only in whites and Hispanics.
  • Except for a minimally higher smoking prevalence among white women than men aged 40-49 years born around the mid-1960s (due to delayed smoking cessation among women), sex differences in smoking behaviors do not explain this finding.

Limitations

  • Data on cigarette smoking habits were self-reported.

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