January 2019

Lung Cancer May Be Greater Threat to Women than Breast Cancer

When it comes to women’s concerns about cancer, breast cancer often tops the list. However, a recent study in the journal Cancer Research found that lung cancer may be a greater risk for many women worldwide.

Close-up of a woman's hand holding a burning cigarette

Breast cancer deaths decreasing as detection and treatment improve

The researchers looked at World Health Organization mortality data from 52 countries from 2008 to 2014. Using this data, they projected that the overall mortality rate for lung cancer among women will increase from 11.2 per 100,000 in 2015 to 16 per 100,000 in 2030. They project the highest lung cancer mortality rates in 2030 will be in Europe and Oceania (a geographic region that includes Australia), and the lowest in the Americas and Asia.

Meanwhile, the researchers projected that worldwide breast cancer mortality rates will decrease from 16.1 per 100,000 in 2015 to 14.7 per 100,000 by 2030. They point to advances in breast cancer detection and treatment as a cause behind the decreasing number of breast cancer deaths. 

Increased smoking is behind higher number of lung cancer deaths

The researchers cite an increase in the number of women smokers as the major reason for the uptick in lung cancer deaths.

Not smoking remains the best way to reduce your risk for lung cancer. If you’re trying to quit, try these tips.

  • Find a diversion. Take a walk, chew gum, or see a movie to get your mind off smoking.

  • Stay away from your triggers. Spend time with nonsmoking friends and stay clear of places where smoking is allowed.


Learn how to build your own quit plan.

Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 9/20/2018
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