Lung cancer in women compared with men: stage, treatment, and survival

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Abstract

Background.

In cardiac disease there appears to be a difference in the treatment of men and women, and thus an advantage in survival in men. This study aimed to determine whether these differences exist in lung cancer.

Methods.

We undertook a retrospective cohort study in a university hospital. The study population consisted of 104 consecutive women and 104 consecutive men with newly diagnosed lung cancer between March 1988 and June 1990. The following information was collected: sex, age, presenting symptoms, investigations, histology, stage, treatment, and survival.

Results.

The location of the tumor, presenting symptoms, investigations, and stages were similar in men and women. There was a difference in the distribution of the various histologic types of lung cancer: Small cell lung cancer was more frequent in women (25% versus 11.5% in men) and squamous cell carcinoma more frequent in men (38% in women versus 51% in men). The overall survival was similar among the two sexes, but there was a survival advantage in women when adjusted for stage.

Conclusions.

There was a higher incidence of small cell carcinoma in women and squamous cell carcinoma in men. There was evidence of a difference in the survival rate of lung cancer in favor of women according to stage.

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