The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Thursday, Jan. 9, chronicling lung cancer in the United States, still the de facto leader of cancer death. The good news in the report is that the number of people across America being diagnosed with lung cancer is diminishing. However, it also shows that the gender gap, which had long shown more men having lung cancer than women, is disappearing making lung cancer death not only a man’s game anymore.
The number of women who are diagnosed each year from lung cancer has gone down. What concerns researchers is that it is not going down with as much weight as the same figures in men.
Between 2005 and 2009, there have been over one million new cases of lung cancer reported in the United States. The most recent data available was from 2009. It is a sufficiently scary statistic when considering how many cases of lung cancer were already diagnosed before 2005.
There was a large decline in the number of men aged 35 to 64 who contracted the disease. That figure was reported to have fallen “6.5 percent annually during 2005-2009.” More good news is that the demographic within this statistic showed the number of lung cancer cases in men from 35 to 44 years of age had declined the most, indicating that younger generations of men are avoiding lung cancer.
For women, the total number of lung cancer cases is down between 35 to 44 years of age as well. Their figures fell 5.8 percent annually. The number of women getting lung cancer who are aged 55 to 64 also fell by 3.7 percent annually.
The earlier-used figure of one million new cases between 2005 and 2009 is mainly made up of people of either gender who are 65 years or older. This is an encouraging sign for future generations trying to limit the number of lung cancer deaths reported each year.
The total figures released from this report show a narrowing gender gap that could make death as a result of lung cancer not solely reserved as a man’s game anymore. Between 2005 and 2009, 569,366 cases of lung cancer were reported in men and 465,027 were reported in women. These numbers were much closer than they had been previously.
The bad news for women is that the amount of cases of invasive lung cancer in those between the ages of 25 and 54 hardly moved. It only fell by 0.1 percent annually. Researchers believe that this is because these women were the target of strong marketing campaigns targeted against them by the tobacco companies.
It is worth remembering that 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer cases are directly attributed to tobacco inhalation, whether it be from direct use or second hand smoke. The other possible factors are radon, air pollutants or other environmental exposures.
The CDC’s newest report is full of good news for future generations trying to avoid lung cancer. However, it shows that not enough of that good news is being distributed to women. The rate of lung cancer cases in men has declined more than those in women. If this trend continues, death from lung cancer could become a woman’s game.
By Nick Manai
Sierra Sun Times