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Lung Cancer Still a Killer For Europe's Women

Rates continue to rise, although some countries are seeing a turnaround

WEDNESDAY, July 13, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Lung cancer death rates for women are still increasing in Europe, but some countries are finally showing a slowdown in that increase, researchers report.

Many countries are also experiencing declining rates of lung cancer deaths among younger women (20 to 44 years old), the study found.

Reporting in the July 13 online edition of the Annals of Oncology, Italian and Swiss researchers also concluded that female lung cancer death rates in Europe are not expected to reach levels seen in the United States, where lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women.

As of May 2004, among the 25 European Union countries, lung cancer deaths for women increased by 23.8 percent between the early 1980s and the early 1990s -- from 7.8 cases per 100,000 individuals to 9.6 cases per 100,000.

Then from the early 1990s to 2000-2001, female lung cancer deaths in those countries increased by another 16 percent -- to 11.2 per 100,000, the study said.

By comparison, the female lung cancer death rate in the United States was already 24 per 100,000 by the year 2000.

Female lung cancer deaths have started to decline in six European countries, including the United Kingdom, over the past decade, the study said. It also spotted declining lung cancer death rates among younger women in several countries.

"We saw steady long-term declines among younger women in Ireland and the UK since the late 1960s. In a number of others, including Austria, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland, the rates among younger women have also tended to fall in the last few years," study author Dr. Cristina Bosetti, a senior epidemiologist and biostatistician at Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy, said in a prepared statement.

"This is a major finding of the present analysis, particularly in those countries where a peak in lung cancer mortality has already been reached, because it suggests that overall trends are likely to be more favorable in the future. Trends for young adults are an early indicator of the recent and potential future impact of changes in the prevalence of risk factors," Bosetti said.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has advice about lung cancer prevention.

SOURCE: British Medical Association, news release, July 13, 2005
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