Lung Cancer Rates Among Women Drop

Death rates finally reflecting lower smoking rates

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Apr 1, 2011  |  Updated 8:36 AM EDT
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Lung Cancer Rates Among Women Drop

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With smoking on the decline among women, lung cancer rates are dropping, too.

Lung cancer deaths, which began dropping among men about a decade ago, have begun to fall among women.

Lung cancer deaths among women peaked in 2002, and have fallen about 1 percent per year through at least 2007, according to research published by the National Cancer Institute. Lung cancer deaths among men began falling several years before, which experts attribute to the fact that men began and quit smoking earlier than women.

“They took it up a little later, so their increase has had a slow rise and now it’s finally starting to turn around,” said Brenda Edwards of the National Cancer Institute.

Still the news was not all good. The decline in smoking among women is not as sharp as among men. And many cash-strapped states are cutting their anti-smoking campaigns.

“As the decline in adult and adolescent smoking rates have stalled with cutbacks to state tobacco-control programs, we can expect that the declines in lung cancer death rates that we celebrate today will also stall sometime in the future,” said Joseph DiFranza, a professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Selected ReadingLos Angeles Times, The Washington Post.

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