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Epidemiology

Worldwide, lung cancer is the most common cancer in terms of both incidence and mortality (1.35 million new cases per year and 1.18 million deaths), with the highest rates in Europe and North America. The population segment most likely to develop lung cancer is over-fifties who have a history of smoking. Lung cancer is the second most commonly occurring form of cancer in most Western countries, and it is the leading cancer-related cause of death. Although the rate of men dying from lung cancer is declining in Western countries, it is actually increasing for women, due to the increased takeup of smoking by this group. Among lifetime nonsmokers, men have higher age-standardized lung cancer death rates than women.

Not all cases of lung cancer are due to smoking, but the role of passive smoking is increasingly being recognized as a risk factor for lung cancer-leading to policy interventions to decrease undesired exposure of nonsmokers to others' tobacco smoke. Emissions from automobiles, factories, and power plants also pose potential risks.

Eastern Europe has the highest lung cancer mortality among men, while northern Europe and the U.S. have the highest mortality among women. Lung cancer incidence is currently less common in developing countries. With increased smoking in developing countries, the incidence is expected to increase in the next few years, notably in China and India.

Lung cancer incidence (by country) has an inverse correlation with sunlight and UVB exposure. One possible explanation is a preventative effect of vitamin D (which is produced in the skin on exposure to sunlight).

From the 1950s, the incidence of lung adenocarcinoma started to rise relative to other types of lung cancer. This is partly due to the introduction of filter cigarettes. The use of filters removes larger particles from tobacco smoke, thus reducing deposition in larger airways. However the smoker has to inhale more deeply to receive the same amount of nictine, increasing particle deposition in small airways where adenocarcinoma tends to arise. The incidence of lung adenocarcinoma in the U.S. has fallen since 1999. This may be due reduction in environmental air pollution.

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Type

Sign

Cause

Prevention
Enter to your lung
Press me

Treatment

Diagnosis and Screening

Epidemiology

History
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