Lung Cancer Remains Top Cancer Killer of Women According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research
BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Lung cancer remains the number one cause of cancer death of women in the United States and new cases in women are poised to outpace cases among men for the first time ever.
Although perceived as a "man's disease," lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer death for both women and men, responsible for approximately 32% of all cancer deaths in men and 28% of cancer deaths in women. At one point, half the adult women in the United States were smokers, and almost 25% continue to smoke today. Women who are former smokers retain a heightened risk for lung cancer development; in fact, more than 50% of newly diagnosed lung cancers occur in former smokers. As a result, lung cancer incidence in women has increased by 451% in the last 30 years.
Even more alarming, available data shows that women are more susceptible to lung cancer than men. There is preliminary data to suggest that estrogen- related hormones may promote cancer development in women exposed to tobacco. And female patients with lung cancer are less likely to be able to repair damaged DNA than male patients -- an indicator of possible heightened predisposition to cancer.
Other lung cancer facts:
* Lung cancer kills more men and women in the United States than any other
form of cancer (160,000 people in 1998).
* 80% of all lung cancer cases are related to smoking. Genetics and environmental conditions cause the additional 20%.
* Symptoms of lung cancer include persistent coughing; persistent chest, shoulder or back pain; shortness of breath, fatigue; repeated bronchitis or coughing up blood.
* Unfortunately, lung cancer is most often caught at an advanced stage allowing only 10% of all lung cancer patients to be cured of the disease. If surgery cannot correct upon discovery, there is a 50% chance death will occur in less than a year.
Those who are concerned about lung cancer should see their doctors who may order a chest x-ray and other diagnostic tests. Despite intensive efforts, progress in the treatment of lung cancer has been extremely slow. Lung cancer is a significant threat to former smokers, who retain a heightened risk for lung cancer throughout the remainder of their lives.
Since current treatments for established lung cancer are so disappointing, and since this is a major threat to women, the National Foundation for Cancer Research is supporting research towards preventing lung cancer development in women at high risk. NFCR Project Director, ' Dr. Waun Ki Hong at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, is conducting research to identify the genetic and hormonal differences in women that put them at greater risk for lung cancer so they can receive chemoprevention. This would restore molecular defects and reverse the premalignant process before the cancer takes over. For further information on Dr. Hong's research regarding women and lung cancer, visit the website at www.NFCR.org .
The National Foundation for Cancer Research, a cancer related charity fully dedicated to advancing basic science cancer research, was formed in 1973 to support basic science research relating to the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer. NFCR's mission, "Research for a Cure", is accomplished through the generosity of private individuals. NFCR has provided over $164 million dollars funding discovery oriented research that is responsible for many current breakthroughs in the prevention, diagnosis, and new treatments of all types of cancer. For further information about NFCR please call (800) 321-CURE or visit the website at www.NFCR.org . SOURCE National Foundation for Cancer Research
Copyright 1999, PR Newswire