Declines in lung cancer death rates among US women have lagged in two hot spots

March 30, 2018, American Association for Cancer Research

While lung cancer death rates among women in most of the United States have declined substantially in recent years, progress among women in a region covering central Appalachia and southern parts of the Midwest and in northern parts of the Midwest has lagged.

The study is published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, by Katherine Ross, MPH, a graduate student in the Department of Epidemiology of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta.

Ross explained that nationally, lung rates have been declining steadily among since the mid-2000s. "We wanted to see if there were geographic differences in this decline so that we could identify places in the United States where women might benefit from targeted tobacco control and smoking cessation programs, and other interventions aimed at reducing the burden of lung cancer," she said.

To conduct the study, Ross and her colleagues used data on the number of lung cancer deaths among women obtained from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER) database to calculate age-standardized lung cancer death rates for each county in the contiguous United States from 1990 to 1999 and from 2006 to 2015. They then calculated the absolute change and the relative change in the death rates between the two periods for each county.

The researchers used a software tool called ArcGIS to identify clusters of counties with increases or small decreases in lung cancer death rates between the two periods, called hot spots.

They found that from 1990-1999 to 2006-2015, lung cancer death rates among women rose by 13 percent in a hot spot encompassing 669 counties in 21 states in central Appalachia and southern parts of the Midwest. During the same period, in a second hot spot that encompasses 81 counties in four states in the northern Midwest, lung cancer death rates among women rose by 7 percent. In the remainder of the contiguous United States, lung cancer death rates among women fell by 6 percent.

The researchers also compared lung cancer death rates among women in each hot spot with those among women in the remainder of the United States. In 1990, the death rate for the largest hot spot was 4 percent lower than the death rate for non-hot spot regions, but in 2015, it was 28 percent higher. For the second hot spot, the death rate was 18 percent lower than the non-hot spot death rate in 1990 but equivalent to the non-hot spot death rate in 2015.

"We know that Midwestern and Appalachian states have the highest prevalence of smoking among women and the lowest percent declines in smoking in recent years, so it is perhaps not surprising that we found that women in these areas experienced a disparity in lung cancer death rates," said Ross. "This geographic disparity may widen unless we specifically aim to reduce tobacco use among women in these hot spots.

"There are several effective tobacco control policies available, such as increased excise taxes on tobacco and comprehensive smoke-free air laws that ban smoking in the workplace, restaurants, and bars," continued Ross. "However, many in our identified either do not have these measures in place, or they are comparatively weak and could be strengthened."

According to Ross, the main limitation of the study is that the researchers are not able to draw any conclusions about whether or not differences in are responsible for the trends they observed. "In addition, in some counties there was not enough information about rates available to draw conclusions about their trends in cancer mortality among women, which means that the results of the study might not apply to those counties," Ross added.

Ross declares no conflicts of interest.

Explore further: Cancer mortality in the US continues decades-long drop

Related Stories

Cancer mortality in the US continues decades-long drop

January 4, 2018
The cancer death rate dropped 1.7% from 2014 to 2015, continuing a drop that began in 1991 and has reached 26%, resulting in nearly 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths during that time.

Breast cancer statistics, 2017: Gap in death rates between whites, blacks closing in several states

October 3, 2017
Overall breast cancer death rates dropped 39 percent between 1989 and 2015, averting 322,600 breast cancer deaths during those 26 years. And while black women continue to have higher breast cancer death rates than whites ...

Lung cancer death rates among young and middle-aged white women climb in some states

June 25, 2012
A new study comparing lung cancer death rates among women by year of birth shows dramatic differences in trends between states, likely reflecting the success or failure of tobacco control efforts. The study, published in ...

Lung cancer now top cancer killer for women in rich nations

February 4, 2015
For the first time, lung cancer has passed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths for women in rich countries.

Analysis finds wide variation in lung cancer rates globally

May 16, 2014
The only recent comprehensive analysis of lung cancer rates for women around the world finds lung cancer rates are dropping in young women in many regions of the globe, pointing to the success of tobacco control efforts. ...

Death rates from cancer will fall faster in men than in women in Europe in 2017

February 22, 2017
Death rates from cancer in the European Union (EU) are falling faster in men than in women, according to the latest predictions for European cancer deaths in 2017, published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology ...

Recommended for you

Daily low-dose aspirin may be weapon against ovarian cancer

July 20, 2018
(HealthDay)— One low-dose aspirin a day could help women avoid ovarian cancer or boost their survival should it develop, two new studies suggest.

Discovery of kidney cancer driver could lead to new treatment strategy

July 19, 2018
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists have uncovered a potential therapeutic target for kidney cancers that have a common genetic change. Scientists have known this genetic change ...

Sunscreen reduces melanoma risk by 40 per cent in young people

July 19, 2018
A world-first study led by University of Sydney has found that Australians aged 18-40 years who were regular users of sunscreen in childhood reduced their risk of developing melanoma by 40 percent, compared to those who rarely ...

Analysis of prostate tumors reveals clues to cancer's aggressiveness

July 19, 2018
Using genetic sequencing, scientists have revealed the complete DNA makeup of more than 100 aggressive prostate tumors, pinpointing important genetic errors these deadly tumors have in common. The study lays the foundation ...

Complementary medicine for cancer can decrease survival

July 19, 2018
People who received complementary therapy for curable cancers were more likely to refuse at least one component of their conventional cancer treatment, and were more likely to die as a result, according to researchers from ...

Overcoming resistance to a standard chemotherapy drug

July 19, 2018
Despite being studied for decades, the chemotherapy drug cisplatin is revealing new aspects of how it works. Researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have identified an enzyme responsible for making tumors ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.