Cancer Trends 27 - Lung cancer

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This report summarises trends in incidence, stage, treatment, mortality and survival for lung cancer in Ireland. On average, 2279 cases per year were diagnosed during 2011-2013, 1005 (44%) in women and 1274 (56%) in men. Incidence rates have fallen markedly in men, by on average 0.8% per year during 1994-2013, but increased by on average 2.0% per year in women over the same period. Of the major subtypes of lung cancer, adenocarcinomas have shown the most marked increase in rates, in both men and women. Incidence rates of lung cancer in the most deprived areas in Ireland are more than twice as high as rates in the least deprived areas, reflecting the strong association with smoking. Completeness of staging information has improved over time, but this has coincided with an increase in the proportion of cases diagnosed categorised as late stage (III or IV). The proportion of lung cancer patients receiving tumour-directed treatment has increased over time, from about 50% in 1994-1998 to 65% in 2008-2012. In particular, the use of chemotherapy has increased markedly, from 14% to 34% of patients. Survival of lung cancer patients has improved in all age-groups since the 1990s, for both sexes, but remains low overall: five-year net survival averaged 15.3% for 2008-2012 (9.3% for 1994-1999). Lung cancer mortality rates increased in both men and women between the 1950s and the early/mid 1980s. Since then, mortality rates in Irish men have fallen markedly, to levels similar to those in the 1960s, but mortality rates in Irish women have shown little change in recent years. This difference in mortality patterns between the sexes is also apparent from Ireland’s ranking among European countries: Ireland had the 8th lowest lung cancer mortality rate among males in 28 EU member states in 2012, but the 5th highest mortality rate among females.

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