Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Background: Lung cancer statistics are alarming, especially when it is considered by many to largely be a preventable disease. Lung cancers are the leading cause of all cancer deaths, more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined. Cancers of the bronchus and lung make up the greatest percentage of the newly diagnosed cancers reported to the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System (OCISS). The stage of diagnosis of lung and bronchus cancers is an important determinant of survival. Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. Race and gender disparities also exist with lung cancer, and socioeconomic factors have an impact.

Methods: The purpose of this study to describe lung cancer incidence and the presence of select risk factors in Montgomery County for the time period of 1996-2006. A secondary purpose was to describe the presence of lung cancer risk factors across Montgomery County in the general population.

Results: Montgomery County lung cancer incidence rates ranked third highest among all cancers reported. Additionally, Montgomery County incidence rates were higher than state and US rates. The average age of lung cancer diagnosis was 68.7 years old, lower than the US average age, and 70% were late stage at diagnosis. The incidence of lung cancer reported during those years was greater in whites and among married people. More than three quarters of those diagnosed were smokers or had a smoking history.

Discussion: The late stage of diagnosis, the strong history of smoking, the greater incidence among whites, and the older age at diagnosis all are factors identified in this study that need to be considered. Programs for earlier detection and education of risk factors, strongly aimed at smoking in both the younger population (prevention) as well as for the general population need to be developed. Socioeconomic factors that influence smoking habits as well as impact ability to afford screenings should also be considered.