New research has unveiled a worrying trend when it comes to lung cancer rates among young women. Researchers found that women in the 30-54 age bracket are more likely to develop this type of cancer than their male counterparts.
The finding is a big surprise as lung cancer rates have been decreasing in recent decades.
All of a sudden within the last 10 to 15 years, women are at greater risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer than men,
American Cancer Society’s CMO Otis Brawley said.
Dr. Brawley added that it remains unclear what triggered the trend. Researchers have reportedly analyzed smoking habits in both sexes and found no explanation.
- Lung cancer is the worst type of cancer in the U.S., killing more Americans than any other type of cancer.
- The CDC found that cigarette smoking causes up to 90% of lung cancers.
In the study, American Cancer Society researchers sifted through national health data on lung patients. The team looked at the age of diagnosis, patient’s year of birth, patient’s sex and race. Researchers had access to cancer data that was collected between 1995 and 2014 by 46 U.S. states.
The data revealed that lung cancer rates have decreased from 1995 to 2016 in both sexes and all races. But the declines among women were not as steep as among men.
Scientists cannot explain the gender crossover by just looking at smoking patterns alone. Also, researchers couldn’t explain why Hispanic women were more likely to get lung cancer than Hispanic men, even though Latinas tend to smoke less than their male peers.
It is worth noting that one in five women diagnosed with lung cancer are not smokers. The first symptoms include persistent coughs and pain in the shoulder. Oftentimes, the disease is diagnosed too late.
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