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Are there lung cancer rate differences based on gender?

Lung cancer in women is a different disease than lung cancer in men. Some studies show that women are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.

Dr. Alla Gimelfarb, MD
Hematologist & Oncologist

This is a very interesting question and is currently being an important aspect of clinical research. In general, gender is an important component. We have learned that, for instance, women are more predisposed to developing lung cancer even in a nonsmoking stage. It is not clear why that is so, but we do know that more women who are nonsmokers can develop lung cancer than men. Alternatively, it is also known that women who do smoke are more predisposed to develop lung cancer than men and require less exposure to tobacco to do so. Why this is so is not 100% clear, although it thought that estrogen is likely to play a role in this interaction. What this means for an average patient is that women should be advised not to smoke and should be cautious of the symptoms that could be suggestive of lung cancer.

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