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DT Health: Lung cancer increasing among women now

Lung cancer in women is slightly different from that in men. Cancer in women occurs outside the lungs.

CHENNAI: Although historically lung cancer has been more prevalent among men, the proportions of men and women diagnosed with the disease have changed dramatically with time.

A decreased incidence among men, but continuing increase among women across several regions of the world, including India, has been observed.

Oncologists say that lung cancer accounts for 5.9 per cent of all cancers and 8.1 per cent of all cancer related deaths in India.

It is commonly perceived that only smokers will get lung cancer, but it is alarming that there has been a rise in lung cancer cases among non-smokers too.

About 85 per cent of lung cancers are non-small cell cancer (which is predominant among non-smokers) in India.

Lung cancer in women is slightly different from that in men. Cancer in women occurs outside the lungs. So, it is very difficult to detect it early. It is very dangerous; since it forms on the outside of the lung, it can easily spread to other parts like, bone, liver etc. if it is not treated.

Dr Sindhura Koganti, pulmonologist at Fortis Vadapalani says that smoking tobacco, both cigarettes and beedis has been the principal risk factor for the reason behind lung cancer among men; however, among Indian women, the association with smoking is not strong, suggesting that there can be other risk factors like natural stove and passive smoking.

“Poorly ventilated homes, kitchens can attribute to the rise in cases. The condition of adenocarcinoma is also common on women who do not smoke and is more likely to occur in young women. However, indulging in smoking is the key reason for women to be prone to this disease,” she added.

A surgery, or drug advanced therapy, chemotherapy and radiation is possible at early stage, experts say.

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