lung-cancer-mortality,-incidence-fell-ahead-of-covid-19-pandemic:-report

The American Cancer Society (ACS) in a new report said lung cancer incidence and mortality were declining. 

The group used incidence data through 2018 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program, the National Program of Cancer Registries and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. Mortality data through 2019 was collected by the National Center for Health Statistics.

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Lung cancer incidence reportedly fell for advanced disease, while rates for localized-stage increased suddenly by 4.5% annually, “contributing to gains both in the proportion of localized-stage diagnoses (from 17% in 2004 to 28% in 2018) and 3-year relative survival (from 21% to 31%).”

Mortality patterns reflected incidence trends, with declines “accelerating for lung cancer.” 

In addition, declines slowed for breast cancer and stabilized for prostate cancer. 

“In summary, progress has stagnated for breast and prostate cancers but strengthened for lung cancer, coinciding with changes in medical practice related to cancer screening and/or treatment,” the society wrote. “More targeted cancer control interventions and investment in improved early detection and treatment would facilitate reductions in cancer mortality.”

The report also highlighted that incidence from 2014 to 2018 continued a slow increase for female breast cancer and remained stable for prostate cancer – despite a 4% to 6% annual increase for advanced disease since 2011. 

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The proportion of prostate cancer diagnosed at a distant stage increased to 8.2% from 3.9% over the past decade. 

The ACS projected that there would be 1,918,030 new cancer cases and 609,360 cancer deaths in the U.S., noting that cancer rates have continued to decline since the 1990s.

That number includes approximately 350 deaths per day from lung cancer – more than breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers combined and 2.5 times more than CRC.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the leading cause of cancer death in men aged 40 years and older and in women aged 60 years and older. 

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“Approximately 105,840 of the 130,180 lung cancer deaths (81%) in 2022 will be caused by cigarette smoking directly, with an additional 3,650 due to second-hand smoke. The remaining balance of approximately 20,700 nonsmoking-related lung cancer deaths would rank as the eighth leading cause of cancer death among sexes combined if classified separately,” the report pointed out.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S.

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