Lung Cancer Passes Breast as Killer of Women in Developed World

Lung cancer now kills more women in the developed world than breast cancer, a reflection of the toll of tobacco use in countries such as Spain and Hungary.

While lung cancer deaths have been decreasing among men in many developed countries, women began smoking more frequently in the 1960s and 1970s in some of the countries, leading to greater mortality rates today, according to a report Wednesday by researchers at the American Cancer Society, working with the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

In developing countries such as China and Indonesia and in several African nations, deaths are likely to climb for the next few decades, the study said. Breast cancer remains the leading cause of death for women in the developing world.

Cardiovascular disease remains the world’s top cause of death, killing 17.5 million people in 2012, compared with 8.2 million who died of cancer, the study said. The majority of those deaths were in low and middle-income countries, which have about 82 percent of the global population.

In developed countries, lung cancer killed 209,900 women in 2012, compared with 197,600 for breast cancer. In the developing world, the rates were 324,300 for breast cancer and 281,400 for lung cancer.

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