British middle-aged adults are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer than those who are slightly older, a new study finds.
Researchers reviewed information from about 34,000 lung cancer patients in England in 2013. They found that a higher percentage of those ages 50 to 64 were diagnosed with late-stage disease than those ages 65 to 69. Patients in their 70s were more likely to be diagnosed with early stage disease.
“Our results show that younger patients in their 50s and early 60s are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced lung cancer compared to patients in older age groups,” David Kennedy, a data and research analyst at Cancer Research UK, said in a news release from the organization.
It’s not clear why younger patients are more likely to be diagnosed with the advanced stage of the disease, said Dr. Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health and patient information.
What is important is catching the disease early, she said.
“Signs of lung cancer can include a cough that won’t go away or being short of breath. It’s vital that when people spot something unusual for them, they go to their doctor as soon as possible. Detecting cancer early is crucial as it offers the best chance of successfully treating the disease,” Sharp said.
The study was presented June 14 at the Cancer Outcomes and Data Conference in Manchester, England. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on lung cancer.