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Women's Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is often thought of as a man’s disease, but women now account for almost half of new cases and deaths from lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women and men in the U.S. In fact, lung cancer claims the life of more women each year than breast, uterine and ovarian cancer combined.

Risk Factors for Women

Everyone knows that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for 80% of lung cancer deaths in women (90% in men). In addition, exposure to second-hand smoke – including childhood exposures – can cause lung cancer in women who have never smoked. Other factors such as radon in homes and other environmental and occupational exposures increase risks.

Although smoking increases the risk of lung cancer dramatically, more non-smoking women than men develop lung cancer. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women diagnosed with lung cancer has never smoked, whereas among men only 1 in 12 have never smoked.

What Type of Lung Cancer Is More Common In Women?

Lung cancer is broken down into two main types – Non-Small Cell and Small Cell. Of the different types, women are more likely to develop adenocarcinoma, a type of Non-Small Cell lung cancer. This is also the type of lung cancer more commonly found in non-smokers. In contrast, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, another type of Non-Small Cell lung cancer, is more common in men. womens lung health facts
With adenocarcinoma, more common in women, the cancer tends to grow in the outer regions of the lungs. As a result, symptoms often don’t occur until later in the development of the cancer, which is why early detection is critical to beating lung cancer. Symptoms may include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back or shoulder pain
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Recurring pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Chest pain that worsens with deep breaths

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Lung Cancer
African American men and women have the highest incidence and death rates for lung cancers, while Hispanic/Latinos have the lowest rate.  In African Americans, the high incidence rate is primarily due to the very high rates in African American men. Among women, there is no significant difference in incidence rates between whites and African Americans. 

Prevention and Early Detection of Lung Cancer
Even though non-smoking women are more likely than men to develop lung cancer, the fact still remains that smoking causes 80% of lung cancer deaths in women.  The single most important thing women can do to reduce the risk of lung cancer is to quit smoking.

The single most important thing women can do to reduce the risk of lung cancer is to quit smoking – get help now with the ASPIRE tobacco free program.

Aspire Tobacco Free Program

Smoking is both a habit and an addiction. Most people try to quit seven to ten times before they are successful. To finally break free, Aspire helps you confront both the habit and the addiction. Learn more

Lung cancer is often diagnosed at a later stage – early detection is the key to survival- click here to learn more about the $69 ct scan program at franciscan st francis.

$69 Lung Scan Program

If you are a long-time smoker, you may qualify for a $69 Lung CT Scan, a simple screening to detect lung cancer early before significant symptoms occur.  Learn more

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