World Lung Cancer Day, August 1, 2016

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Click to view/download a PDF of this graphic.

August 1, 2016 is the 5th Annual World Lung Cancer Day and we would like to remind everyone of the dismal numbers and statistics associated with this disease. A lot has been achieved, but a lot more needs to be done! Let’s join hands and work towards making lung cancer a chronically manageable disease!

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Lung Cancer in Non-smokers

  • Each year in the United States alone, approximately 16,000 to 24,000 deaths are attributed to lung cancer in never smokers. In fact, if lung cancer in never-smokers is considered a separate category, it currently ranks as the sixth most fatal cancer in the United States. Lung cancer in never smokers is a completely different disease at the molecular level as well as in its response to therapy compared to lung cancer in smokers/ former smokers.

Small cell lung cancer

  • Small cell lung cancer accounts for 10-15% of all lung cancer diagnoses. A very aggressive form of lung cancer with a median survival of less than two years, SCLC currently does not have any targeted therapies approved.

Gender Differences in Lung Cancer

  • An unfortunate and often unknown fact is that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in women. In 2012, the 209,000 deaths in developed countries from lung cancer in women outnumbered the 197,000 deaths from breast cancer.
  • While deaths in the United States from breast cancer are expected to be slightly more than 40,000 in 2016, female deaths from lung cancer are predicted to be over 72,000.
  • Although breast cancer diagnosis is twice as common in women (1 in 8 women will get breast cancer) compared to lung cancer (1 in 17 women), the cure rate for lung cancer is much lower, resulting in more deaths from lung cancer.
  • Several studies have indicated that women are more susceptible to developing lung cancer than men.
  • Female smokers are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as male smokers, even when they smoke fewer cigarettes over a shorter period of time.
  • Even among non-smokers, the risk of developing lung cancer is higher among women than men: 1 in 5 women who develop lung cancer have never smoked, whereas 1 in 12 men diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked.
  • Women lung cancer patients are, on an average, younger than male patients.

Clinical Trials

  • Less than 3% of all adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials.
  • Participation is even lower among particular groups, including people who are racial and ethnic minorities, over 65, lower income, and living in rural areas. As an example, ~53% of new cancer diagnoses are in people 65 or older, however, this age demographic accounts for a measly 33% of clinical trial participants.
  • 85% of cancer patients aren’t even aware that their treatment facility conducts clinical trials in which they might be eligible to participate.