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What Women Need to Know About Lung Cancer


An estimated 70,500 women will die from lung cancer in 2018. An increasing number of those deaths will be in women who have never smoked.

People might also be surprised to find out that lung cancer is the lead killer of women, as well as men. It claims more lives each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. Since November is lung cancer awareness month, it’s a great time to educate the public about just how exactly this disease impacts women, and what they need to know to mitigate their risk.

Every seven minutes, a woman dies from lung cancer; that means 193 women are dying each day. A quarter of all cancer deaths in females can be attributed to lung cancer, making it the leading cause of cancer death among females. 

But even those who have never smoked are suffering more from lung cancer. Just under 18 percent of men and women diagnosed with the disease are never-smokers, according to a 2006 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That report also found that lung cancer was the sixth leading cause of death among male and females.

Additionally, more recent studies found that, among people who have never smoked, women were twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with lung cancer.

There are also other studies have found that more people who have never smoked are being diagnosed with lung cancer.

For women, lung cancer is alarmingly deadly. Less than a quarter of women — just 21 percent — survive five years after their diagnosis.

Despite the danger posed to women living in the United States, lung cancer remains underfunded. The disease receives only $1,831 per death in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, making it the least funded of the major cancers affecting women.

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