Global lung cancer rates have risen over 30 years with significant regional variations; researchers urge tailored interventions to address this persisting major health issue.
A study analyzing data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study found a significant increase in global lung cancer rates over the last 30 years, with notable variations in incidence across different regions of the world. The study, which spanned 204 countries, showed that lung cancer continues to be a major health concern worldwide, accounting for 18% of all global cancer deaths in 2020. Researchers used the data to examine the prevalence, incidence, and years lived with disability (YLDs) associated with lung cancer, observing a 1.32-fold increase in individuals with lung cancer since 1990.
The analysis highlighted that the age-standardized rates (ASR) of lung cancer prevalence and YLDs have risen, while the ASR of incidence has slightly decreased. The prevalence of lung cancer was found to be higher in men than in women across all age groups and increased with age, peaking in those aged 65 to 69. Factors such as population aging and higher levels of exposure to risk factors like tobacco use in developing countries, environmental degradation, and indoor hazardous conditions from industrialization are thought to contribute to the rising prevalence.
The study also pointed out disparities in lung cancer rates based on sociodemographic index (SDI), with high SDI regions reporting higher absolute numbers and rates of lung cancer prevalence. Regional assessments showed the largest increase in lung cancer patients in middle SDI regions. Despite advances in treatment and surgery improving mortality rates, the study’s authors stress the importance of tailored strategies to combat lung cancer, taking into account geographic and country-specific characteristics. However, they acknowledged limitations such as the lack of data differentiation between small cell and non-small cell lung cancer and incomplete disease reporting in some countries.