Lung cancer deaths among women expected to increase by over 40% by 2030

New research has predicted that deaths from lung cancer among women will increase from 11.2 women per 100,000 in 2015 to 16.0 in 2030. (AFP pic)

LONDON: New European research predicts that deaths from lung cancer will rise among women by 43% from 2015 to 2030, although deaths from breast cancer are projected to decrease by 9% in the same period.

The new study by Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese researchers analyzed breast and female lung cancer mortality data gathered from the World Health Organization (WHO) Mortality Database between 2008 to 2014.

The data included 52 countries including 29 from Europe, 14 from the Americas, seven from Asia, and two from Oceania. Lead researcher Jose M. Martínez-Sánchez, from Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, said that while previous research has looked at projections in lung and breast cancer mortality among women in a single country or continent, few studies have predicted mortality rates caused by the two cancers on a global scale.

The analysis showed that globally, among women, the mortality rate for lung cancer is projected to increase from 11.2 women per 100,000 in 2015 to 16.0 in 2030.

Despite Oceania being the only continent predicted to see a decrease in lung cancer mortality (calculated to fall from 17.8 in 2015 to 17.6 in 2030), it is still projected to have the highest lung cancer mortality rates in 2030, along with Europe. The lowest lung cancer mortality rates in 2030 are projected in America and Asia.

As for breast cancer, the researchers found that globally the mortality rate is projected to decrease from 16.1 in 2015 to 14.7 in 2030.

The highest breast cancer mortality rate is predicted in Europe, though overall rates of mortality are decreasing. In Asia, mortality rates will increase, although it is still predicted to have the lowest breast cancer mortality rate in 2030.

“Breast cancer is associated with many lifestyle factors,” Martínez-Sánchez explained. “We are seeing an increase in breast cancer mortality in Asia because this culture is adapting a Westernized lifestyle, which often leads to obesity and increased alcohol intake, both of which can lead to breast cancer. On the other hand, we are witnessing a decrease in breast cancer mortality in Europe, which may be related to the awareness of breast cancer among this population, leading to active participation in screening programs and the improvement of treatments.”

“While we have made great strides in reducing breast cancer mortality globally, lung cancer mortality rates among women are on the rise worldwide,” he added. “If we do not implement measures to reduce smoking behaviours in this population, lung cancer mortality will continue to increase throughout the world.”

The researchers based their predictions on the assumption that current trends will stay the same for the next 20 years. But they noted that changing certain habits such as switching from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes, and improvements in screening technology and treatments may have a positive effect on lowering mortality rates.

The results were published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.