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With over 2 million new cases globally in 2018, lung cancer remains the most prevalent cancer in the world. And with tobacco use accounting for somewhere between 80% and 90% of lung cancers, depending on region, it’s unsurprising that the World Conference on Lung Cancer this past weekend devoted an entire oral session to the “end-game” of a tobacco-free world. Yanting Zhang of Sun Yat-sen University in China presented new findings on global trends from the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s Cancer Incidence in Five Continents database.

Turkey had the highest lung cancer rates in men, followed by Belarus and Croatia, while women had the highest rates in Denmark, followed by Black women in the U.S. and women in Iceland. Uganda had the lowest rates for both sexes. Rates were about equal between the sexes in Uganda, Iceland, Denmark, Canada, New Zealand, and the white population of the U.S.


There were also noteworthy trends: Lung cancer rates among men are moderately trending down across most of the globe, though they remained high from 2008-2012 in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and the Black population in the U.S. But rates among women are rising sharply in many countries with otherwise moderate rates, particularly France, Norway, and Germany. Rates also rose in Denmark, Canada, and the Netherlands, which already had higher rates than other countries.

The key takeaway was that despite a gradual narrowing of disparities between men and women, overall disparities in lung cancer incidence and risk of smoking remain strong across the globe.

  • My 49 year old daughter died of Small Cell Lung Cancer a little over a year ago. She has never smoked and grew up in a non smoking home. It is an insult to me and my family to read this articleas the incidence of lung cancer in non smokers is rising. The money for research in lung cancer is not as robust for lung cancer because of the fact that it is caused by smoking. It is discriminatory! The incidents of cancer in non smokers is rising especially in younger people. Why is that? And the treatments and studies are not as robust. My daughter was the last person I would have thought that would have lung cancer. She was actually afraid to have breast cancer because she had five friends who had breast cancer. All these young women were brought up by middle class parents and they all had college degrees. So my daughter donated and marched for breast cancer for years. A lot of research must be done in the age 30 to 50 group and why the increase of cancer, especially lung and breast! Stop your focus on smokers, we all know and so do they that they are setting themselves up to have lung cancer as well as many other cancers of the respiratory tract starting with the mouth.

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