Aim To examine trends in female lung cancer incidence.
Introduction Lung cancer incidence in men has been decreasing for the past 2–3 decades, while for females it has increased. Furthermore, to achieve the national cancer mortality target reduction, it is essential that lung cancer incidence reduces as this is a major contributor to the mortality target. Mortality trends closely mirror that of incidence due to the poor prognosis of lung cancer.
Methodology The UK Association of Cancer Registries dataset was used to identify female lung cancer cases diagnosed between 1985 and 2006 in England and its constituent Regions. Three year rolling directly age-standardised rates (standardised to the European population) was calculated. National deprivation quintiles were used, where deprivation was based on the income domain of Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2007. The postcode of residence of each patient was used to assign the relevant deprivation quintile.
Results England lung cancer incidence for females significantly increased (p<0.01) from 1985 to 1987 (32.3 per 100 000) and 2004–2006 (35.4 per 100 000). Incidence and trends across Regions varies significantly. Further analysis at Network/LA level shows even more extreme variation in trends. By 2030, it is anticipated that lung cancer incidence will be similar for both males and females in the South West Region. In the past 20 years the inequalities gap for females is widening. Incidence rates have increased in the most deprived population (30%) of the South West, while remaining relatively stable in the most affluent population of the region. Each Region shows different inequalities.
Conclusion Smoking prevention is the key to reducing lung cancer. A lot of effort to encourage people to give up smoking has focused on men. Evidence of increasing female rates, more so in deprived areas; show that targeted efforts to support women need to be increased in order for large health gains to be achieved.
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