Prevalence of SCLC in the US and Globally


Qian Wang, MD, MPH, discusses the changing incidence of small cell lung cancer among patients globally and in the United States.

Qian Wang, MD, MPH, assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University, thoracic oncologist at University Hospital Seidman Cancer Center, discusses the changing incidence of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) among patients globally and in the United States.

According to Wang, SCLC accounts for approximately 50% of all cases of lung cancer, and lung cancer as a whole remains the leading cause of cancer related death in male patients.

One of the predominant reasons and highest risk factors a patient develops lung cancer is due to smoking. Though the Tobacco Control Program was initiated in the 1960s and has helped the incidence of lung cancers decline globally, experts in a review published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology emphasize the importance of continuing efforts in tobacco control worldwide.


0:08 | We know that small cell lung cancer accounts for about 50% of all lung cancer cases. Most of the epidemiological studies combine all small cell and non–small cell lung cancers as 1 group. The incidence and mortality data are both combined, and from looking globally in 2020, we know that lung cancer remains the second most common cancer in males, and the third most common cancer in females. It continues to be a leading cause of cancer-related death in males, and then is the second for females. Approximately in 2020, there were about 1.4 million lung cancer cases in males globally… Among those, approximately 15% of them are small cell lung cancers.

1:05 | Smoking is the predominant cause of lung cancer, especially for small cell lung cancer. The incidence and the mortality lags about 20-30 years years behind the trends in smoking rate. In about the 1960s, the United States and some other countries around the world started and initiated the Tobacco Control Program. After that, around in the late 1980s or 1990s, the smoking incidence and the lung cancer incidence started to [decline], including small cell lung cancer. This is also the same in the United States.

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