A new study presented at the 71st annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), CHEST 2005, says that women have a better chance of surviving lung cancer than men even without treatment.
The study also found that in untreated patients women had a 21 percent decreased chance of succumbing to the cancer than men. These findings have led researchers to theorize that lung cancer in women has a different biological behavioral pattern than in men.
In the current study, researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine 18,967 patients with stage I and II non-small cell lung cancer diagnosed from 1991 and 1999 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry linked to Medicare records. They divided patients into four groups based on the treatment received into surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, and untreated cases.
They found that women in all the groups had better cancer specific, overall, and relative survival rates than men. Women had a 54 percent chance of surviving five years after treatment as compared to 40 percent in men. When factors such as age, race, disease stage at diagnosis, histology, median income, geographic area, access to care, and type of treatment were taken into consideration, the researchers found that women lived longer than men.
New data suggest that even in untreated patients, women with lung cancer still live longer than men, despite the presence of other medical conditions or gender differences in life expectancy. This suggests that the progression of lung cancer has a biological basis, with the disease being more aggressive in men than women, said Juan Wisnivesky, MD, MPH, FCCP, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.