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Lung Cancer Rates Begin to Decline for U.S. Women

THURSDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of new lung cancer cases among American women is finally beginning to decline, much as it has for men in for years, a new U.S. government report shows.

New cases of lung malignancies fell by 2.2 percent per year on average for women between 2006 and 2008, after rising an average of 0.5 percent between 1999 and 2006, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Men's lung cancer incidence continued its long, slow decline, the agency added, but the pace of that decline has sped up in recent years. New cases fell by an average of 1.4 percent per year between 1999 and 2006 but that accelerated to a drop of nearly 3 percent per year by 2006-2008, the CDC said.

Between 1999 and 2008, declines in new lung cancer cases were seen among men in 35 states, while the rate remained stable in nine states. For women, six states -- California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington -- saw declines in lung cancer incidence during the same time period. Lung cancer rates for women remained stable in 24 states and they increased slightly in 14 states, the CDC team found.

While the trends are heartening, more needs to be done to stop the nation's number one cancer killer, said CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Freiden. "Although lung cancer among men and women has decreased over the past few years, too many people continue to get sick and die from lung cancers, most of which are caused by smoking," he said in an agency news release. "The more we invest in proven tobacco control efforts, the fewer people will die from lung cancer."

Declines in lung cancer rates seemed closely tied to the fading popularity of lighting up. The report's authors note that lung cancers fell fastest in the West, where smoking among both men and women is lowest.

According to the reports' authors, certain moves by states seemed to result in steeper declines in lung cancer cases. These included boosting tobacco prices, enforcing 100 percent smoke-free policies and making quit-smoking resources accessible for people motivated to quit.

The findings are published in the Sept. 16 issue of the CDC's journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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SOURCE: Sept. 16, 2011, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, news release, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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