Trends in lung cancer and smoking behavior in Italy

Annalisa Trama, Roberto Boffi, Paolo Contiero, Carlotta Buzzoni, Roberta Pacifici, Lucia Mangone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The epidemiology of lung cancer is changing worldwide, with smoking being the key driver of lung cancer incidence and mortality. Our aim is to analyze the incidence, survival and mortality trends in Italy in the framework of the 2017 survey on smoking behavior in Italy. Methods: AIRTUM 2017 reports on cancer survival and incidence; 2017 survey on smoking behavior in Italy. Results: Men achieved progress in lung cancer control characterized by a decrease in incidence and mortality and an increase in survival. The decreasing use of tobacco in men (from 60% in the 1960s to 24% in 2017) was most likely responsible for the decreasing incidence and mortality. Women showed no progress: although survival improved slightly, the incidence and mortality were both on the rise. This was most likely due to the increasing smoking rates in women in the 1970s and 80s. Of major concern is the accelerated rise in the number of smoking women from 4.6 million in 2016 to 5.7 million in 2017 compared to the decrease observed in men (from 6.9 to 6 million). Conclusions: The incidence and mortality trends in males clearly demonstrate that primary prevention is the most effective way to reduce lung cancer mortality. By contrast, a 24% increase in the prevalence of smoking among women in just 1 year is extremely worrying for the future, and calls for immediate action by targeted strategies to reduce tobacco consumption in women and avert the dreadful prospect of a lung cancer epidemic in Italy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-550
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Incidence
  • Lung cancer
  • Mortality
  • Prevention
  • Smoking
  • Survival


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