Background: Distinct temporal patterns can be identified through estimating annual-percent-changes (APC) in age-specific disease rates, but APCs in lung cancer rates among the youngest adults can also reflect the recent changing smoking habits of a population.
Method: Lung cancer mortality rates from 1970 to 1999 were investigated in Ireland, using the Joinpoint regression modelling technique.
Results: In the most recent decade (1989-1999) male lung cancer death rates showed a significant annual decline (-2.4%), but female annual rates have scarcely decelerated (0.1%). The combined gender youngest adults (30-39 year-olds) showed decreasing rates, but the annual decline in the youngest female rates were significant only from 1970 to 1990 and thereafter increased non-significantly.
Conclusion: Unlike male lung cancer death rates, the overall female rates are increasing significantly. While the combined gender youngest adult rates are decreasing, the apparent reversal in trends among the youngest female rates from 1990 onwards is worrying.