Chapter 1 – Epidemiology, pathogenesis and risk factors

USA Incidence and mortality

USA Incidence and mortality 1

Siegel R, et al. Ca Cancer J Clin 2019;69:7-34

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in both genders worldwide. In 2019, it is expected to account for 228 150 new cases and 142 670 deaths in the USA.

It is the second most common solid tumour type in both genders, after prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

Lung cancer is the cause of 24% and 23% of all male and female cancer-related deaths, respectively, exceeding prostate and breast cancer mortality

In both genders, USA lung cancer incidence rates increased from the 1970s, until the mid 1980s in men and the late 1990s in women.

USA Incidence and mortality 2


Siegel R, et al. Ca Cancer J Clin 2019;69:7-34

Incidence is now beginning to decline, possibly due to the reduction in smoking prevalence. Differences in lung cancer incidence patterns between men and women reflect mainly historical disparities in smoking habits.

Cigarette smoking prevalence peaked about 20 years later in women than in men.

USA Incidence and mortality 3

Siegel R, et al. Ca Cancer J Clin 2019;69:7-34

The USA lung cancer death rate rose for most of the 20th century, peaking at the beginning of the 1990s for men, and almost two decades later for women.

Lung cancer death rates have followed the same trend as smoking prevalence and incidence rates, demonstrating the strong correlation between the major risk factor and the disease and the poor prognosis of this malignancy, respectively.

Recently, a steady decline in lung cancer death rates has been observed in both sexes, as a result of combined improvements in primary prevention, control of associated risk factors, and treatment.

Revision Questions

  1. What is the lung cancer incidence trend in the USA over the last 20 years?
  2. Is there a difference in lung cancer mortality rates between men and women?
  3. What is the percentage of deaths due to lung cancer among all cancer-related deaths?

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Last update: 12 June 2019