Lung cancer death rate drops for women … for first time in 40 years

Great news! Smiley

Get this, for the first time in FOUR DECADES, the lung cancer death rate for women has FINALLY dropped.


The lung cancer death rate for women has been STUBBORNLY persistent, even though a much smaller percentage of women smoke today. This is partly because a relatively large percentage (roughly 20 percent) of lung cancer cases among women occur in women who have never smoked.

According to this this report from the National Cancer Institute, between 2003 and 2007, the lung cancer death rate for men in the U.S. dropped 2.5 percent a year. That’s good news, but not necessarily new news. The death rate from lung cancer among men has been dropping since the 1990s. However, the lung cancer death rate during that period for women dropped 0.9 percent. That’s not a dramatic drop, but it’s the first time since the 1970s that rate has finally dropped.

Why? Fewer smokers, obviously, but I also think it’s because those who do smoke, smoke less than they do 40 years ago, and there’s less exposure to secondhand smoke.

Overall, there was a decrease in the death rate for all cancers during that time. Fewer smokers, better detection and more successful treatment, especially for childhood leukemia were all reasons why. The one bit of bad news is there was a slight increase in incidence of childhood leukemia during that time (I’m guessing to more toxins in the environment and food, maybe).