For Women Worldwide, Lung Cancers Rise as Breast Cancers Decline

By on August 1, 2018

As women around the world wage war against cancer, good news on the breast cancer front is tempered by predictions that lung cancer deaths could rise more than 40 percent.

Researchers in Spain reported that between 2015 and 2030, lung cancer deaths among women worldwide will likely increase 43 percent.

During that same period, however, breast cancer deaths are projected to fall 9 percent.

“While we have made great strides in reducing breast cancer mortality globally, lung cancer mortality rates among women are on the rise worldwide,” said study author Jose Martinez-Sanchez. He’s director of public health, epidemiology and biostatistics at the International University of Catalonia (UIC Barcelona).

For the study, researchers analyzed World Health Organization data gathered from 52 countries between 2008 and 2014. The study authors concluded that the worldwide lung cancer death rate among women will increase from just over 11 percent in 2015 to 16 percent in 2030.

The highest rates in 2030 are projected in Europe and Oceania, and the lowest rates in North America and Asia. Only Oceania is predicted to see a dip in the rate of women’s lung cancer deaths — and that’s just from 17.8 percent in 2015 to 17.6 percent in 2030.

The study was published Aug. 1 in the journal Cancer Research.

“If we do not implement measures to reduce smoking behaviors in this population, lung cancer mortality will continue to increase throughout the world,” Martinez-Sanchez warned in a journal news release.

Meanwhile, he said, “we are seeing an increase in breast cancer mortality in Asia because this culture is adapting a westernized lifestyle, which often leads to obesity and increased alcohol intake, both of which can lead to breast cancer.”

Breast cancer is associated with many lifestyle factors, Martinez-Sanchez explained.

“On the other hand, we are witnessing a decrease in breast cancer mortality in Europe,” he added. There may be greater awareness of breast cancer among Europeans, he suggested, leading to active participation in screening programs and treatment improvements.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on breast cancer.

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