More U.S. young women diagnosed with lung cancer at a higher rate than young men, new report shows

Oct. 12, 2023
Increase extends to older women.

Reversing historical patterns, new findings led by researchers at the American Cancer Society (ACS) show higher lung cancer incidence in women than in men has not only continued in adults younger than 50 years, but now extends to women 50 to 54 years of age in the United States. The findings are published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Oncology.

For this cross-sectional study, researchers analyzed population-based incidence data on lung and bronchus cancers diagnosed from 2000 to 2019 from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, covering nearly 50% of the U.S. population. Cases were categorized by sex and age in 5-year increments and year of diagnosis.

The study results showed the declines in lung cancer incidence rates between 2000-2004 and 2015-2019 were greater in men than women, leading to higher incidence in women aged 35-54 years. Among individuals aged 50-54 years, for example, the rate per 100,000 person-years decreased by 44% in men compared to 20% in women. As a result, the female-to-male incidence rate ratio increased from 0.73 during 2000-2004 to 1.05 during 2015-2019. Among individuals aged 55 years or older, however, incidence rates continued to be lower in women, although differences became increasingly smaller. Among persons aged 70 to 74 years, for example, the female-to-male incidence rate ratio increased from 0.62 during 2000-2004 to 0.81 during 2015-2019.

American Cancer Society release on Newswise