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Women More Likely Than Men to Develop Lung Cancer

Female smokers nearly twice as likely to have lung cancer as males

FRIDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Asymptomatic women with a history of smoking are more likely than men to have screening-detected lung cancer, but they are less likely to die of the disease than men, researchers report in the July 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Claudia I. Henschke, Ph.D., of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, and colleagues analyzed lung cancer screening data on 7,498 women and 9,427 men over age 40 who were asymptomatic with a history of cigarette smoking. Overall, 2.1 percent of women and 1.2 percent of men had lung cancer. Women were 1.9 times as likely as men to have lung cancer, but they were less likely to die of it (hazard ratio, 0.48).

"Women appear to have increased susceptibility to tobacco carcinogens but have a lower rate of fatal outcome of lung cancer compared with men," the authors write.

"The once prevalent adage, 'You've come a long way, Baby!' geared to female smokers, unfortunately now applies to increased smoking prevalence and lung cancer risk among women," according to an editorial by Alfred I. Neugut, M.D., Ph.D., and Judith S. Jacobson, Dr.P.H. "To prevent gender equality in lung cancer from becoming a reality, it's now time for women to turn back."

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