A recent report from the NCIR (National Cancer Registry Ireland) suggests that the incidence of lung cancer in men may be levelling off slowly. The disease had witnessed a steady rise since 1994. However, it has also been observed that the total number of cases of cancer is rising steadily.
The report involved a study of the number of cases detected with lung cancer. It showed that though the incidence of lung cancer continues to fall in men, the risk is still increasing in women.
The decline in the incidence of this condition in men could partly be due to the rising awareness of the hazards of smoking and the subsequent decline in the number of men who smoke.
However, lung cancer remains the leading cause of death due to cancer in both sexes. It accounts for 23% of the cancer-linked deaths in men and about 18% of cancer deaths in women.
Though the risk of lung cancer is also higher in patients with asthma, smoking has been found to be the single largest factor contributing to its development. Smoking is also a preventable factor, meaning the men who do not smoke or quit smoking have a drastically reduced risk of developing lung cancer.
Even the chances of survival in the patients diagnosed with lung cancer can be increased by quitting smoking. Hence, continued efforts are being made to make people aware of the effect of smoking on their health.
It is also noted that the combined number of deaths due to the lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers made up about 50% of all deaths due to cancer.
The Acting Director at the NCRI, Dr. Harry Comber, said: “Other than lung cancer, the incidence of prostate cancer also seems to be levelling off. Lung cancer and prostate cancer are the two most common forms of cancer affecting men and these are the two that show the highest signs of decline in their incidence at the moment.”
However, it was also observed that there is a sharp rise in the number of men diagnosed with a skin cancer called melanoma. Dr. Harry Comber said that men are still casual about their sun exposure and not taking precautions to minimize the sun damage caused due to the harmful UV radiation, which has resulted in the rise in the incidence of melanoma.
The fastest drop in the incidence of lung cancer is among the men between the age group of 35 and 44 years. The incidence is steadily decreasing by 6.4% each year among men.
“This dramatic decline in the number of lung cancer in men confirm that the tobacco prevention and control programs have been effective at raising awareness about the health hazards of smoking,” said the Director Tom Frieden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The research indicates that continued efforts for increasing awareness about tobacco use are needed to reduce further the use of cigarette smoking and tobacco and thus, the incidence of lung cancer.
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