Report: Lung cancer deaths, incidence dropped before COVID-19 pandemic

The rate of lung cancer and death is declining, the American Cancer Society (ACS) said in a new report.

The group used 2018 incidence data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, the National Program of Cancer Registries, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. Mortality data through 2019 were collected by the National Center for Health Statistics.

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The incidence of lung cancer was reported to decline for advanced disease, while rates of locoregional stage suddenly increased by 4.5% per year, “contributing to gains in both the proportion of local stage diagnoses (from 17% in 2004 to 28% in 2018) and 3. Relative survival for the year (from 21% to 31%).

Mortality patterns mirror incidence trends, with the “accelerating” decline of lung cancer.

Additionally, the decline slowed for breast cancer and stabilized for prostate cancer.

In short, progress in breast and prostate cancers has stalled, but has strengthened for lung cancer, in conjunction with changes in medical practice related to cancer screening and/or treatment. “More targeted cancer control interventions and investment in improved early detection and treatment would facilitate a reduction in cancer mortality.”

The report also highlighted that from 2014 to 2018, the incidence of female breast cancer continued to increase slowly and remained stable for prostate cancer – despite a 4% to 6% annual increase for advanced diseases since 2011.

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The proportion of prostate cancer diagnosed at a distant stage has risen to 8.2% from 3.9% over the past decade.

The American Cancer Society has projected that there will be 1,918,030 new cancer cases and 609,360 deaths from cancer in the United States, noting that cancer rates have continued to decline since the 1990s.

This number includes approximately 350 deaths per day from lung cancer – more than breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer combined and 2.5 times more than lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the leading cause of cancer death in men 40 years of age and older and women 60 years of age and older.


“Approximately 105,840 of the 130,180 lung cancer deaths (81%) in 2022 will be due to direct cigarette smoking, with another 3,650 due to second-hand smoke. The remaining balance of about 20,700 cases If lung cancer deaths are associated with non-smokers, it would be categorized as the eighth leading cause of cancer death between the sexes combined, if classified separately.”

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