(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – White women born in the 1960s in some southern states, such as Alabama, had a rate of lung cancer deaths approximately double those of women born in the 1930s, results of a cohort study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology online June 25 reported.

Previously, studies have shown “that declines in age-specific lung cancer death rates among women in the United States abruptly slowed in women younger than age 50 years,” reported Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD, of the American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA, and colleagues. “However, in view of substantial geographic differences in antitobacco measures and sociodemographic factors that affect smoking prevalence, it is unknown whether this change in the trend was similar across all states.”

Using age-period-cohort models, they investigated female age-specific lung cancer deaths rates from 1973 through 2007 by year of birth and death. A total of 1,076,613 lung cancer deaths with 1.44 x 109 woman years of follow-up among white women aged 35 to 84 years in 23 states from 1973 through 2007 were included in the analysis. The year 1933 was used as the referent birth cohort.

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“Age-specific lung cancer death rates declined continuously in white women in California, but the rates declined less quickly or even increased in the remaining states among women younger than age 50 years and women born after the 1950s, especially in several southern and midwestern states,” they reported. Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina had significantly higher lung cancer death rates than California, which “has consistently led the United States in using public policies to reduce cigarette smoking,” they wrote.

Identifying this “unfavorable lung cancer trend…underscores the need for additional interventions to promote smoking cessation in these high-risk populations, which could lead to more favorable future mortality trends for lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases,” they concluded.