Cancer Incidence: Lifetime Smokers and Elderly
All the requested data is included in the attached spreadsheet and summarized below. As is explained below, there was some small crossover between the requested age brackets and the available data, but we were able to address both nonetheless.
1. Incidence Rates
- According to a 2015 publication from the National Institute of Health based on multi-year, comprehensive data collected between 2007 through 2011, the yearly cancer incidence rate among people between the ages of 55-64 in the U.S. was 24.1% (the closest reputable data we could find to the 60-65 age bracket). Thus, we used that rate for the 60-65 age group requested for this research.
- According to a 2015 publication from the National Institute of Health based on multi-year, comprehensive data collected between 2007 through 2011, the yearly cancer incidence rate among people between the ages of 75-84 in the U.S. is 19.6% (again, the closest reputable data we could find to both the 74-70 and 80-85 age brackets requested). Thus, we used that rate for both of the aforementioned age groups requested.
- Per the Centers for Disease Control, the odds of U.S. adult smokers getting cancer are six million out of "the 36 million U.S. adults who smoke." That translates into a 16.7% cancer incidence rate among U.S. smokers (6/36 * 100). That was the closest-matching data we could find, as we were unable to locate the incidence rate among the lifetime smoker cohort specifically.
2. Population Counts
- There were 20.33 million people in the U.S. between the ages of 60 and 64 in 2018 (9.73 million men + 10.6 million women).
- There were 9.26 million people in the U.S. between the ages of 75 and 79 in 2018 (4.14 million men + 5.12 million women).
- There were 6.13 million people in the U.S. between the ages of 80 and 84 in 2018 (2.59 million men + 3.54 million women).
- The aforementioned population counts are also included in the attached Google Doc.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42.1 million adults in the U.S. "are consistent smokers" (the closest population count we could get for lifetime smokers). The aforementioned figure translates into 18.1% of the U.S. adult population.
3. Percentages of Population That Might Develop Cancer
- The percent of the ages 60-64/5 subgroup (crossover between ages 64 and 65 explained above) that might develop cancer, among the U.S. population, is 1.5% (20.33 million * 0.241 = 4.9 million / 329,485,722 (2019 U.S. population)= 1.5%).
- The percent of the ages 74/5-79 subgroup (crossover between ages 74 and 75 explained above) that might develop cancer, among the U.S. population, is 2.81% (9.26 million * 0.196 / 329,485,722 = 2.81%).
- The percent of the ages 80-84/5 subgroup (crossover between ages 84 and 85 explained above) that might develop cancer, among the U.S. population, is 0.36% (6.13 million * 0 .196 = 1,201,480 / 329,485,722 = 0.36%).
- The percent of the consistent smokers subgroup that might develop cancer, among the U.S. population, is 2.13% (42.1 million * 0.167 = 7,030,700 / 329,485,722 = 2.13%).
Your Research Team Applied the Following Strategy:
We began our research by looking for the cancer incidence rates by age in the U.S. The reputable data that we found was published by the National Cancer Institute, though the age groups varied slightly from those requested. For example, two of the incidence rates provided applied to the 65-74 and 75-84 age groups, while the requested age groups were 74-79 and 80-85. Thus, for the 74-79 age group incidence rate requested, we used the 75-84 incidence rate provided because it covered more years within the requested age group than did the other incidence rate (65-74). We noted the overlapping years in our research findings above, as applicable. The population counts by age group were published by Statista, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Information about lifetime smokers was difficult to find. With regard to incidence rate among this subgroup, all the data we found either applied to either lung cancer specifically or current smokers. Thus, we didn't find a single data point about incidence rate specific to lifetime smokers or a similarly described subgroup. Accordingly, the closest data point we found was the incidence rate among current smokers, which we thus used. Similarly, with regard to population, we didn't find a single data point specific to the number of lifetime smokers in the U.S. Rather, the closest available data point applied to "consistent smokers" which we thus used.
With regard to the last two data points mentioned, we looked for the exact data points requested (incidence rate among lifetime smokers and number of lifetime smokers) using three strategies. First, we reviewed a substantial quantity of articles published by a combination of media (NBC), governmental (CDC), and health industry (Public Health) sources. Second, we checked to see if there was any mention of such in databases such as Statista, but we didn't come across any such results. As a third strategy, we tried expanding the scope of our searches by looking for data about similarly designated groups, but that also didn't yield any applicable results. For example, we noticed throughout our research that different sources referred to ongoing smokers by different terms, ranging from consistent (term used by the CDC), to lifetime, to lifelong, to consistent, and more. Thus, we used those search terms and similar ones, in order to make every attempt to find the requested about lifetime smokers. Though those terms were used by sources that we reviewed, the data we were looking for was not stated for people who smoke throughout their lives. Since these research strategies didn't yield the exact data points we were looking for, we included the variations of those in lieu thereof, as was noted above.
Some of the sources we used were published in 2015 and 2016. We used those sources in spit of their publication year because (1) they were the most-recent ones we found throughout our research that met the parameters of our research and (2) the sources were very credible (CDC, National Institute of Health). We were actually surprised at the lack of availability of sources regarding incidence rates, as we had expected to find more originally. One limitation we found throughout our research was that many of the incidence rates were specific to one or more particular cancers, while we were searching for incidence rates among cancer in general.
The population counts by age group were from July 2018 and the overall U.S. population value we used was from 2019. We used those values in our calculations involving incidence rates, which were from 2015 and 2016. We did so because we felt that was the best way to calculate the values for Column D of the spreadsheet. Said another way, had we used population counts from 2015 and 2016, the values for Column D would not have reflected the U.S. current population (which we wanted to and did avoid).