Lung cancer in women: age, smoking, histology, performance status, stage, initial treatment and survival. Population-based study of 20 561 cases

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Background:The community-based cancer registry was set up and results were analysed to assess differences in clinicopathological parameters between women and men.Patients and methods:The Pulmonary Outpatient Departments supplied data on 20 561 lung cancer patients diagnosed in Poland from 1995 to 1998. Data regarding demographics, smoking, histology, treatment and survival were obtained.Results:There were 2875 women and 17686 men with lung cancer. Women were younger than men (60.02 versus 62.18 years; P <0.001). Age <50 years was more frequent in women than in men (23.3% versus 12%; P <0.001). Women with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and adenocarcinoma were significantly younger than women with squamous cancer (58.2 and 58.2 versus 61 years; P = 0.05). Also, men with adenocarcinoma and SCLC were younger than men with squamous cancer (60.6 and 60.2 versus 62.3 years; P = 0.05). Squamous cancer was the predominant type of lung cancer both in women (32.5%) and men (55.2%). However, SCLC (26.6% versus 19.9%: P <0.001) and adenocarcinoma (21.6% versus 9.6%; P <0.001) were more frequent in women than in men. Women were more frequently non-smokers than men (18.8% versus 2.4%; P <0.001). Adenocarcinoma patients smoked less intensively than patients with squamous and SCLC both in women (31.4 versus 35.8 and 33.7 packs/year; P <0.02) and in men (38.2 versus 42 and 41.9 packs/year; P <0.002). In multivariate analysis, bad performance status, advanced stage, non-surgical treatment, age >50 years at diagnosis and male gender were significant independent negative prognostic factors.Conclusions:Lung cancer was six times more frequent in men than in women. Women with lung cancer were younger than men and smoked less intensively. Over-representation of adenocarcinoma and SCLC was observed in the women. Women with lung cancer had a better prognosis than men.

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