Female lung cancer mortality increased by 50% between the mid 1960s and the early 2000s in the European Union (EU). To monitor the current lung cancer epidemic in European women, we analyzed mortality trends in 33 European countries between 1970 and 2009 and estimated rates for the year 2015 using data from the World Health Organization. Female lung cancer mortality has been increasing up to recent calendar years in most European countries, with the exceptions of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, with relatively low rates, and the UK, Iceland and Ireland, where high rates were reached in mid/late 1990s to leveled off thereafter. In the EU, female lung cancer mortality rates rose over the last decade from 11.3 to 12.7/100,000 (+2.3% per year) at all ages and from 18.6 to 21.5/100,000 (+3.0% per year) in middle-age. A further increase is predicted, to reach 14/100,000 women in 2015. Lung cancer mortality trends have been more favorable over the last decade in young women (20-44 years), particularly in the UK and other former high-risk countries from northern and central/eastern Europe, but also in France, Italy, and Spain where mortality in young women has been increasing up to the early 2000s. In the EU as a whole, mortality at age 20-44 years decreased from 1.6 to 1.4/100,000 (-2.2% per year). Although the female lung cancer epidemic in Europe is still expanding, the epidemic may be controlled through the implementation of effective anti-tobacco measures, and it will probably never reach the top US rates.
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