Global lung cancer mortality trends and lifestyle modifications: preliminary analysis

Lung Cancer

Khaltaev N and Axelrod S. Chin Med J (Engl) 2020.


BACKGROUND: According to the Independent High-level Commission on Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) of the World Health Organization (WHO), global reduction in lung cancer mortality has been achieved since the year 2000, although this effect is not sufficient to reach the 30% reduction of mortality from NCDs by the year 2030, as stipulated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3.4. The objective of this study was to analyze whether the lifestyle changes implemented by the WHO at country level could have an impact on mortality from this form of cancer.

METHODS: WHO statistics, based on the unified mortality and causes-of-death reports of Member-State countries, were used to evaluate global lung cancer mortality trends and make comparisons and assessments of different types of community-based, country-wide interventions.

RESULTS: The lung cancer mortality decline was associated with the anti-tobacco campaign initiated by the WHO in the last 15 to 20 years. Comprehensive tobacco control remained the major and most successful lifestyle modification measure. In countries with declining lung cancer mortality, 91% of countries had decreasing tobacco prevalence in males and 82% in females. Country- wide measures to increase physical activity had a strong tendency to be better implemented in countries with declining lung cancer mortality (t = 1.79, P > 0.05). Other WHO "best-buy" lifestyle modification campaigns (diet and alcohol) had been carried out for shorter periods, and their associations with lung cancer were less strong than tobacco. There was no significant difference between countries with declining and increasing lung cancer mortality in the measures for reduction of harmful alcohol use (t = 0.92, P > 0.05) and unhealthy diet reduction measures (t = 0.84, P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Following WHO "best-buys" should facilitate to move countries towards the NCD including lung cancer mortality reduction targets. Governments and communities must embrace these targets with coordinated effective action for better health.