For the first time in 40 years, the rate of lung cancer deaths dropped among American women, according to a new government report.
Death rates among men with lung cancer – the No. 1 cancer killer – started declining about 10 years ago. Researchers believe the drop for women is happening now because they started smoking later than men. Hopefully, the decline for women will continue as more choose not to start smoking.
From 2003 to 2007, the death rate from lung cancer dropped nearly 1 percent each year, according to the report published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. It’s important to note that during the late 1970s, lung cancer death rates among women were increasing 6 percent each year.
The report, a joint effort among leading health organizations and the government, contained other good news for women struggling with smoking. The rate at which women are diagnosed with lung cancer is decreasing as well.
Researchers credit better prevention, early detection and new treatments for the strides made to fight lung cancer.
Sources: Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975 – 2007, American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention