Lung Cancer Rates Declining

CDC Report Shows Men's Rates are Declining Faster than Women

Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO, American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (January 9, 2014)

The American Lung Association is pleased to see the decline in lung cancer rates reported today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While this is good news, lung cancer remains the nation’s leading cancer killer. The data, published in the January 10, 2014 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report credits proven tobacco prevention and control measures for their contribution to this decline. During the period 2005-2009 the report shows that lung cancer rates among men have declined 2.6 percent per year and 1.1 percent per year among women.

Over the past several decades smoking rates among men and women have become similar, especially among those in younger age groups. This change is reflected by the data that show the gap in lung cancer rates between younger men and younger women has been eliminated. This is a sign that women may account for a greater portion of the lung cancer burden in the future.   Clearly much more work is needed to address lung cancer and all its risk factors – tobacco use, genetics and environmental exposures.

This week the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. The first report, issued by Surgeon General Luther Terry on January 11, 1964 was a landmark in public health, identifying smoking as a cause of lung cancer in men, and a likely cause of lung cancer in women. Today’s CDC report on lung cancer shows progress but is a reminder to the nation that effective tobacco control measures including smokefree air laws, higher tobacco taxes and comprehensive prevention, cessation and education programs can save lives.  Indeed, earlier this week, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association credits tobacco prevention and control efforts with preventing 800,000 lung cancer deaths alone between 1975 -2000.  Sadly this report also signals that much more work must be done in order to end the tobacco epidemic and eliminate lung cancer and all other tobacco caused disease.

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About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases.  For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: www.Lung.org.