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New Year's Resolution Number One: Stop Smoking!

If you're a smoker, make quitting your number one New Year's resolution.† While there's plenty of research to substantiate the dangers of smoking, and while we have known for years that smoking disproportionately affects women than men, we are now able to measure that risk:† it's double!† According to study based upon 10 years of research using computed tomography (CT) screening, women have twice the risk of developing lung cancer from tobacco use than do men.† As common sense would predict, the study also found that the risk for lung cancer increases with the amount of tobacco smoked and as a smoker ages. But as gender differences rarely follow "rules" of common sense, the fact that women had twice the risk of developing lung cancer as men was independent of how much they smoked, their age, or the size and textures of nodules found in their lungs.† According to Claudia I. Henschke, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology and division chief of chest imaging at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center in New York City, "there is as of yet no clear consensus why women are at increased risk."

This research was presented Dec. 1, 2003 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).† It was conducted by Rowena Yip; David F. Yankelevitz, MD; Dorothy I. McCauley, MD; and Ali O. Farooqi, M.B.B.S.† This study was part of the Early Lung Cancer Action Project (ELCAP), designed to evaluate the usefulness of annual CT screenings in people at high risk for lung cancer.

This study of 2,968 men and women age 40 and older, with some history of cigarette smoking, was partially supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).† Its primary objective was to determine which risk indicators - age, gender, number of years smoking - when combined with the size and texture of lung nodules found on CT scans impacted the probability of developing lung cancer.

A total of 77 lung cancers were diagnosed in the 2,968 men and women screened. Researchers used logistic regression to further study the probability of malignancy based on nodule size and texture for 1,097 participants who had at least one lung nodule.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). In 2003, ACS estimates that 171,900 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed (91,800 men and 80,100 women) and that 157,200 people will die from it. Since 1987, more women have died annually from lung cancer than breast cancer, according to ACS.

Created: 1/6/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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