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Female Smokers at Higher Risk of Lung Cancer
The Cancer Information Network
Posting Date: February 10, 2004

New York (The Cancer Information Network) -- Female smokers carry twice the risk of contracting lung cancer than males who smoke a similar amount, according to a recent study involving almost 2,500 men and women at least 40 years old who were screened for lung cancer.

The results of the study were published in the January issue of the journal Lung Cancer.

Previous research studies had already suggested the possibility that women who smoke are more susceptible to lung cancer than their male counterparts.  Should further research confirm the findings of this latest study, greater effort would have to be given to discouraging girls and young women from smoking.

The study involved 1,288 men and 1,202 women who smoked either a pack a day for 10 years or two packs a day for five years.  These participants all underwent computed tomography (CT) scans to detect any presence of lung cancer.

In follow-up testing, 45 women were confirmed to have lung cancer, compared to 20 men.  

Differences in the aggressiveness of lung tumors between sexes or possible underreporting of the smoking levels of women do not account for the difference, researchers said.  Age and smoking history were also factored into the analysis.

The researchers offered no clear reason for the higher risk of lung cancer among women, but considered the possibility that women are less capable of metabolizing or “clearing” the smoke than men are.

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