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Geographic Disparity Observed in Lung Cancer Deaths in Women

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Friday, May 11, 2018

Despite a steady decline in lung cancer–related death rates among women overall in the United States since the mid-2000s, progress against lung cancer mortality among women in areas of the Midwest and central Appalachia has lagged, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers from Emory University and the American Cancer Society obtained county-level lung cancer death rates among women from the National Center for Health Statistics and calculated relative changes from two periods: 1990 to 1999 and 2006 to 2015. They found that lung cancer death rates in a hotspot encompassing 669 counties in Appalachia and the Midwest increased by 13%, and a second hotspot of 81 counties in the northern Midwest had an increase of 7%. In the remainder of the United States, death rates from lung cancer in women decreased by 6%. The investigators noted that Appalachia and parts of the Midwest comprise states where both excise taxes on tobacco and spending on tobacco control measures at the state level are very low.

“Coordinated, targeted public health intervention and tobacco control policies could reduce the excess burden of lung cancer among women living in these areas and prevent widening geographic inequity,” concluded Katherine Ross, MPH, a graduate student in the Department of Epidemiology of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and lead author of the study, and colleagues.



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