Currently, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. In 2003, the American Cancer Society figures about 171,900 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and that 157,200 people will die from it.
New research shows women have double the risk of developing lung cancer from smoking than do men.
Researchers in New York studied nearly 3,000 men and women ages 40 and older with some history of smoking to determine what factors -- such as age, gender and number of years smoking -- impacted the probability of developing lung cancer. To best determine who is most at risk, these factors were combined with the size and texture of lung nodules found on CT scans.
Seventy-seven lung cancers were diagnosed in the men and women screened. Researchers further studied the probability of cancer based on the size and texture of nodules in more than 1,000 participants who had at least one lung nodule. From the study it was found that women had twice the risk of developing lung cancers as men, independent of how much they smoked, their age, or the size and textures of nodules found in their lungs. There is, as of yet, no clear consensus why women are at increased risk.
Researchers also found the more people smoke and as they age, the greater their risk of developing lung cancer.