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Did you know? Lung cancer kills X2 more women than breast cancer!

Lung cancer is on the increase worldwide, and while in men the incidence and mortality has decreased, in women it is going in the opposite direction and the no of deaths are higher than for breast cancer ( Rodriguez 2021).

Lung cancer Is actually the leading cause of mortality in both women and men In 2022 More than 350 people will die each day from lung cancer, which is more than breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers combined ( Siegel 2022)

Women have a 1 in 16 lifetime risk of developing lung cancer regardless of smoking status, and 50% are diagnosed at advanced stages (North, Christianin 2013)

Lung cancer has increased even in young and non-smoking women worldwide. ( Siegel 2022)

81% of lung cancer deaths will be caused by cigarette smoke directly and 3% due to second-hand smoke. ( Siegel 2022) Women are affected by both – there is both in increase in women who smoke and a peak in women exposed to smoking. (Rana 2020).

There are both sex and gender differences in lung cancer which may contribute to this

Sex differences

Lung cancer is a different disease in women and men and is strongly influenced by estrogen, depending on the hormonal status of the patient. Future studies must include the highest number of women as possible; it is also essential to separate women by hormonal status, since very few studies have evaluated this variable and could provide vital information to improve the treatment in young pre-menopausal women who have the worst prognosis. ( Rodriguez 2021)

Gender issues

Secondhand smoke is a relevant risk factor in non-smoker women; 64% of deaths due to lung cancer associated with secondhand smoke correspond to women. Women are disproportionately represented among nonsmokers with lung cancer. (North and Christiani, 2013).

Non smoking MEN with Lung Cancer

Non smoking WOMEN with Lung Cancer



Women are often unable in their gender roles to ask men to stop smoking in front of them. Studies have shown gender inequities in lung cancer, for women, the risk of cancer was strongly associated with education and housing characteristics. ( Rodriguez 2021)

Research into gender difference in lung cancer, from the latest 2022 WHAM report show that investing in lung cancer research in women can result more than 22,700 years saved across 30 years, with substantial gains in health-related quality of life

Approximately 2,500 more labor years (valued at $45 million in labor productivity) result from increased work time and longer life. (WHAM REPORT 2022)


Rodriguez-Lara V , Avila-Costa MR. An Overview of Lung Cancer in Women and the Impact of Estrogen in Lung Carcinogenesis and Lung Cancer Treatment. Front. Med 20221; 8:600121. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.600121

Siegel RL, Miller KD, Fuchs HE, Jemal A. Cancer Statistics, 2022. Cancer J Clin 2022;72:7-33.

North CM, Christianin DC. Women and lung cancer: what is new? Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2013 ;25(2):87-94.

Baird MD, Chen A, Dick AW,et al. Societal Impact of Research Funding for Women’s Health in Lung Cancer. Available from:

Rana RH, Alam F, Alam K, Gow J. Gender‑specific differences in care‑seeking behaviour among lung cancer patients: a systematic review Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology (2020) 146:1169–1196


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