262622 US tobacco tragedy trends: Lung cancer decedent and spousal bereavement trends by race from 1988-2009

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bruce Leistikow, MD, MS , Public Health Sciences, Univ California, Davis, Davis, CA
Rumana Khan, PhD Candidate , Graduate group of Epidemiology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
Background. Ongoing and cumulative death tolls and bereavements from smoking and lung cancer in the United States (US) have not been reviewed. So we described lung cancer death and resultant bereft spouse counts in the US from 1988-2009.

Methods. National Center for Health Statistics death certificate data for the years 1988-2009 was used.

Results. US annual lung cancer tolls rose from 138,340 lung cancer decedents with 84,865 bereft spouses in 1988 to peaks of 85,431 spousal bereavements in 1988 and 163,207 lung cancer deaths in 2005 then fell to 161,902 decedents leaving 78,268 spouses in 2009. The average age of such deaths leaving a spouse rose steadily from ~67.8 in 1988 to 70.5 in 2009. Cumulatively, lung cancer caused 3,441,978 deaths (40% of them female) leaving 1,879,791 bereft spouses (72% female) in the US from 1988-2009. The proportions of such decedents who were white and African-American (AA) were stable near 88% and 10%, respectively. The proportions of such decedents who were married at death fell steadily from 61% (77% of whom were male) in 1988 to 48% (68% of whom were male) in 2009 when only 49.7% of white and 35.1% of AA lung cancer decedents were married. “Other” race decedents and bereft spouses rose from 1% of all US lung cancer deaths in 1988 to 2.3% in 2009.

Conclusions. Lung cancer causes immense death and bereavement tolls in the US. Public health actions to prevent smoking and resultant lung cancer deaths and bereavements are highly merited.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare US lung cancer death and bereavement trends by race from 1988-2009

Keywords: Tobacco, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have published and taught on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.