Lung Cancer Topping Breast Cancer in Women

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Lung cancer is now topping breast cancer in women as the leading cause of cancer in highly developed countries. Women did not begin smoking as heavily as men until the 1980’s. Men began smoking in the 1950’s. Deaths due to lung cancer in women are just now catching up with the men as the leading cause of cancer related deaths. However, breast cancer still remains the highest diagnosed cancer in women worldwide today.

A worldwide report showed the shift in the lead from breast to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in 2012, making it so the latter disease is now topping the former. The shift is partially due to preventative measures to detect breast cancer early, as well as women not regularly smoking until the 1980’s. A researcher from the American Cancer Society, Lindsey Torre, stated in a new report generated by numbers tallied in 2012 that 209,000 women died from lung cancer and 197,000 women died of breast cancer. New lung infections are likely the results of smoking habits from decades ago. It was also reported that in 2012 new cases were at 14 million and 8 million cancer-related deaths in developing countries.

Smoking trends are declining in the United States, so lung cancer in women and men are also starting to decline. Torre also stated that 57 percent of all cancer cases are in developed countries and 65 percent of all cancer deaths are also in developed countries. Globally, lung cancer in men has been the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for decades and breast cancer was the leader  in women, now taken over by lung cancer.  Another trend, however, is as the developing countries continue to westernize, those countries are likely to begin smoking as well. Also, they follow westerners into picking up other unhealthy habits as well, such as obesity.

As westerners continue to lead the world in positive advancements it is as important to lead the world in healthy advancements as well. If an intervention is not made the world will advance the spread of cancer, obesity and other illnesses. At some point people have to take responsibility for their own actions and do whatever can be done to be healthy and stay healthy for a lifetime.

Half of all cancers are preventable. A report put out by the American Institute for Cancer Research says a healthy diet, exercise, the Hepatitis vaccination, the HPV vaccine, but of course the best option to avoid lung cancer is to quit smoking. Middle-aged people who quit smoking avoids 60 percent of the risk of dying of lung cancer. The FDA has passed legislation to remove all fruity or candy flavored tobacco products from the shelves so they would not entice young people to want to smoke. These products are now illegal to manufacture, distribute or sell, according to the American Lung Association. Also President Obama gave the FDA total reign over the manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products.

These preventative measures will help lung cancer deaths in both men and women continue to decrease. Other preventative or early interventions would be to perform monthly self-breast exams. Self-breast exams are quick and easy to do in the shower, checking for new, painful or hard lumps. For the time being, however, lung cancer is still topping breast cancer in women.

By Jeanette Smith

ABC News
U.S. New & World Report
American Lung Association
Photo by Ed Uthman – License