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Women and Lung Cancer

While breast cancer is the cancer that most women fear the most, lung cancer is actually the number one cancer killer of American women.  Over the past 50 years, deaths from lung cancer in women have increased 5 times. . .as has the incidence of smoking.  Lung cancer accounts for one out of every 5 cancer deaths in women.

While lung cancer can  affect women who don't smoke, women who smoke are 12 times more likely to die from lung cancer than nonsmokers.  Other risk factors for lung cancer include second-hand smoke, asbestos exposure, radon, radiation, chemical exposures, and chronic lung disease.

There is no reliable screening test for lung cancer, but there is a reliable prevention strategy:  don't start smoking, and if you do smoke, quit.  Smokers who can't quit should have an annual chest x-ray so that lesions that do develop can be identified as early as possible.

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Created: 3/21/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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