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

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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.


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.


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.


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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