WEDNESDAY, May 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Lung cancer incidence is higher among young women than young men, according to a study published in the May 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Ahmedin Jemal, D.V.M., Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the nationwide population-based incidence of lung cancer according to sex, race or ethnic group, age group, year of birth, and calendar period of diagnosis.

The researchers observed a decrease in the age-specific incidence of lung cancer among both men and women aged 30 to 54 years across all races and ethnic groups over the past two decades; the declines among men were steeper. The female-to-male incidence rate ratios increased among non-Hispanic whites; in the age groups of 30 to 34, 35 to 39, 40 to 44, and 45 to 49 years, the ratios exceeded 1.0. There was an increase in the female-to-male incidence rate ratio among whites aged 40 to 44 years, from 0.88 in 1995 to 1999 to 1.17 in 2010 to 2014. Among non-Hispanic whites born since 1965, the crossover in sex-specific rates occurred; there also was a crossover in sex-specific incidence rates to a higher incidence for women among Hispanics. Among women born since 1965 the prevalence of cigarette smoking has approached that of men.

“Future studies are needed to identify reasons for the higher incidence of lung cancer among young women,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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