A new data presented at the Cancer Outcomes and Data Conference in Manchester, England, has revealed that middle-aged people between 50 and 64 years have a higher risk of being diagnosed with late stage lung cancer than in older patients aged 65 to 69.
However, people in their 70s have more possibilities of being diagnosed with early stage disease.
Cancer Research UK data and research analyst David Kennedy said: "Through harnessing the power of patient data we were able to detect this difference in the stage when younger and older people are diagnosed with this disease.
"Our results show that younger patients in their 50s and early 60s are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced lung cancer compared to patients in older age groups. Further analysis will focus on understanding this relationship to see if a similar pattern is present for other types of cancer."
In England during 2013, researchers examined the records of approximately 34,000 patients affected with lung cancer in a bid to explore the relationship between early and late stage lung cancer and age.
Cancer Research UK health and patient information head Dr Julie Sharp said: "It’s not clear exactly why younger patients are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, but what’s important is that the disease is caught early.
"Signs of lung cancer can include a cough that won’t go away or being short of breath. It’s vital that when people spot something unusual for them, they go to their doctor as soon as possible. Detecting cancer early is crucial as it offers the best chance of successfully treating the disease."
Every year, about 45,500 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the UK, of which most are diagnosed at a late stage.
Image: A lung cancer cell. Photo: courtesy of Cancer Research UK.