Women six times more at risk of lung cancer: study
By Lee I-chia
The risk of developing lung cancer in women is about six times that of men, even if the risk factor of smoking is excluded, a study by Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital showed.
The hospital conducted low-dose lung cancer screenings using computed tomography on 1,763 people who did not have symptoms and found 25 people with lung cancer — 19 of whom were women.
Wu Ming-ting (吳銘庭), a physician at the hospital’s Radiology Department, said that excluding risk factors like cigarette smoking, the study found that the risk of developing lung cancer in women is six times that of men, while people with a family history of the disease are three times more likely to develop lung cancer.
The team said the reason might be because women’s genes are more fragile than men’s, so frequent exposure to second-hand smoke or other risk factors is more likely to trigger cytopathy in women.
Lin Meng-chih (林孟志), a physician at the hospital’s Division of Chest Medicine, said that in Taiwan, more than 30 percent of men and fewer than 5 percent of women smoke, but among more than 11,000 deaths from lung cancer each year, nearly 40 percent are women.
The statistics suggest that women might be genetically predisposed to higher risks of lung cancer-related cytopathy, Lin said.
Lin said some clinical cases showed that many women who did not smoke had lung cancer because their husband was a long-term smoker.
Women should make every effort to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke and other carcinogens, he said, adding that those with a family history of the disease or in another high-risk category should undergo regular screenings.