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Monday May 20, 2024

Why is lung cancer attacking more women than men?

The research reveals that lung cancer diagnoses have risen 84% in women over the past 43 years

By Web Desk
October 15, 2023
A doctor checks chest x-rays of a tuberculosis patient at a clinic in Mumbai, India, that treats those with drug-resistant strains of the disease. — AFP/File
A doctor checks chest x-rays of a tuberculosis patient at a clinic in Mumbai, India, that treats those with drug-resistant strains of the disease. — AFP/File 

Healthcare experts are trying to grasp why more young and middle-aged women are being diagnosed with lung cancer than men, according to recently published research, as some experts blame the lack of awareness about the effects as a likely cause behind the rise.

A radiation oncologist and spokesperson for the American Lung Association, Dr Andrea McKee, said that the number one killer of women is not breast cancer but lung cancer, urging education to people about the disease.

According to an estimate, lung cancer takes around 164 women’s lives daily in the US.

As smoking is seen as a primary cause of lung cancer, the rates of women using cigarettes declined significantly over the past couple of decades, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted. However, the number of women with cancer was rising, especially in those who never smoked.

Scientists have tried to explain but could not find any concrete reason why it is attacking one gender.

Legislators intend to establish a specific centre aimed at increasing funding and official collaborators to ascertain the condition of preventive services being provided to women alongside awareness campaigns.

Studies indicated that only 15% of the budget of the National Institutes of Health is directed toward female-focused research, and lung cancer remains the top women killer.

The research published in the journal JAMA Oncology revealed that lung cancer diagnoses have risen 84% in women over the past 43 years while dropping 36% in men.

In the research, it was underlined that those who never smoked are twice as likely to get cancer than male non-smokers.

American Cancer Society noted that other risk factors include family history, exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, asbestos, pollution and arsenic in drinking water.

Usually, lung cancer is diagnosed late therefore proving detrimental. It also remains very hard to treat.

Researchers hope that studies showing gender disparities in lung cancer will make healthcare providers aware of how this disease affects women so they can know to watch for it.

It is recommended to consult a doctor if a cough lasts more than six weeks, blood showing up while coughing, shortness of breath or hoarse for a few weeks, or unexplained weight loss.