Women with a family history of lung cancer may be at greater risk of inheriting the disease than men, says a new study.
Jun-Ichi Nitadori and colleagues at Wayne State University, Michigan, conducted a 13-year long study where they looked into the health of more than 102,000 Japanese men and women aged 40-69 at the start of the study, reported the online edition of health magazine WebMD.
Over the study period, nearly 800 participants developed lung cancer, particularly those who had a family history of the disease.
The risk of inherited lung cancer is greater for women (2.65-fold risk) than for men (1.69-fold risk), according to the study published in the October issue of the journal Chest.
The risk of inherited lung cancer is greater for people who never smoked (2.48-fold risk) than for current smokers (1.73-fold risk), it said.
Only a family history of lung cancer - not other kinds of cancer - is linked to inherited lung-cancer risk, said the study. "Having a close family member who's had lung cancer doubles your own risk for the disease - even if you don't smoke," said one of the researchers.
The findings of this study support more than 40 years of previous studies suggesting that lung cancer risk can be inherited.
The new study suggests that family history should be added to the known risk factors.
"Family history should be tested as another marker of 'high risk' for lung cancer in (screening and prevention) trials," said researcher Ann G. Schwartz.