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Lung Cancer Health Center

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U.S. Lung Cancer Rates Falling Overall, Study Finds

Yet certain types of lung malignancies are still on the rise


Recent adenocarcinoma rates were higher among young women than among men, Riedel Lewis noted.

Another type of cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, is dropping less rapidly than it has in the past, Riedel Lewis said. This type of cancer accounts for about 30 percent of all lung cancers. Squamous cell cancer affects the cells that line the airway and cells in the middle of the lungs, according to the ACS.

Small cell lung cancer rates, as well as unspecified lung cancer rates dropped, the researchers found.

Edelman pointed out that gender differences in lung cancer rates are changing. "The rates of lung cancer in men and women are converging -- they are almost the same now. The rates of lung cancer in men are going down and the rates in women have plateaued."

Edelman also noted that the rates of lung cancer had been growing among women because they took up smoking later than men, so the long-term effects of smoking were delayed compared with men. "The rate of lung cancer among women is not declining, but it will, just as it has in men," he said.

"The fewer people who smoke, the fewer people who will get lung cancer, so we have to keep fighting the good fight," Edelman said.

For the study, researchers collected data from more than 450,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer between 1977 and 2010. The information was part of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program.

Findings were published in the Aug. 11 online issue of the journal Cancer.

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