Lung cancer has exceeded breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in women in developed countries, according to research conducted by the American Cancer Society (ACS) in collaboration with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The change is due to a tobacco epidemic in women, which has occurred later than in men, according to lead author Rebecca Siegel from ACS and colleagues.
According to the report, 209,859 women died from lung cancer in more developed countries in 2012, compared with 197,618 women who died from breast cancer in the same regions.
This occurred even as breast cancer incidence was far higher than rates of lung cancer. Among women in more developed countries, there were 788,200 cases of breast cancer, compared with 267,947 cases of lung cancer.
In less developed regions, breast cancer still kills more women, according to the authors. In 2012, 324,289 women died of breast cancer, compared with 281,364 women who died of lung cancer.
As with developed regions, breast cancer incidence was much higher than lung cancer rates in less developed areas, with 882,949 cases of breast cancer in 2012, compared with 315,153 cases of lung cancer.
Siegel's group published its findings in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians; the report is based on worldwide estimates of cancer incidence and mortality produced by IARC for 2012 in its Globocan series (January/February 2015, Vol. 65:1, pp. 5-29).