Women seem more at risk for lung cancer than men
Women smokers, aged 60 and older, appear to have twice the risk of developing lung cancer as men smokers of the same age, according to a study by a team of New York researchers.
The Early Lung Cancer Action Program screened 459 women and 541 men. All were at least 60 years old and had smoked cigarettes for at least 10 years. Many had smoked for decades, placing them at high risk of developing lung cancer.
Participants underwent a CT scan that was designed to detect lung cancer at the very earliest stages, when it has the best chance of treatment. The test took 15 seconds, cost about $300 and provided a much better resolution of soft lung tissue than a standard chest X-ray.
The study, scheduled to be presented today at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, found 29 cases of lung cancer. Nineteen of those with lung tumors were women--roughly twice as many as the 10 men found to have lung cancer.
Why women smokers may be at increased risk of lung cancer is not known. "It may be that women smoke differently than men," said the study's lead author, Claudia I. Henschke, professor of radiology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. "It may be that there are hormonal influences."
Whatever the cause, the higher risk of lung cancer among women "is considered compelling evidence that they have a greater susceptibility to tobacco carcinogens than men," the team concluded.