Lung cancer rates expected to plummet over next 50 years

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Long-standing tobacco control efforts will continue to help dramatically decrease lung cancer rates from 2015 to 2065, according to research published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Tobacco control efforts implemented in the United States since the 1960s have led to considerable reductions in smoking and smoking-related diseases, including lung cancer,” Jihyoun Jeon, PhD, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues wrote.

Jeon and colleagues analyzed how existing tobacco control efforts would reduce tobacco use and lung cancer mortality from 2015 to 2065. The researchers used U.S. data on trends in smoking from 1964 to 2015 and lung cancer mortality from 1969 to 2010 to develop four simulation models. All four models assumed that current decreases in smoking and lung cancer mortality would continue.

The models projected that between 2015 and 2065, the age-adjusted lung cancer mortality rate would decrease by 79%. The annual number of lung cancer deaths was expected to reduce by 63%, from 135,000 to 50,000.

Long-standing tobacco control efforts will continue to help dramatically decrease lung cancer rates from 2015 to 2065.

The researchers estimated that there would still be 4.4 million lung cancer deaths in the United States from 2015 to 2065; many of them occurring in individuals who had never smoked, according to the researchers. In 2065, around 20 million adults aged between 30 and 84 years would continue to smoke.

“Our analyses indicate that maintaining existing tobacco control efforts will result in considerable reductions in the lung cancer burden in the United States,” Jeon and colleagues concluded. “Our projections also highlight that smoking will continue to be an important determinant of lung cancer risk during this century. Continued policies and measures to discourage the uptake of smoking in youth and to promote cessation among current users are thus needed to retain the gains that have already been made, with additional efforts required to further decrease the toll of tobacco smoking on health.” – by Alaina Tedesco

Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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