An urgent need exists to increase awareness and research funding to improve lung cancer care, particularly in women, leading researchers and health advocates say in a report in the January issue of the journal Lung Cancer. The report calls for more basic and clinical research to explore differences between women and men in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, because the lung cancer patient population is shifting from mostly male smokers to include women and non-smokers.
"Emerging data indicates that there are differences between women and men in lung cancer susceptibility and prognosis," said Sherry Marts, Ph.D., one of the report's authors and vice president of scientific affairs for the Society for Women's Health Research, a Washington, D.C., based advocacy organization. "Based on the trends we are seeing, it is important to explore these differences and develop new treatment options that are appropriately responsive to factors such as sex and gender. That will lead to better care for all patients."
Lung cancer is responsible for 30 percent of all cancer deaths for men and women. It kills more women annually than breast, ovarian and uterine cancers combined.
The report stems from a thought leaders' roundtable hosted by the Society for Women's Health Research in Washington, D.C., last February, where researchers presented recent data on the epidemiological aspects of lung cancer in women, lung tumor biology, and trends in clinical research.
The report's other authors are Chandra P. Belani, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; Joan Schiller, M.D., of the Simmons Comprehensive Care Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas; and Mark A. Socinski, M.D., of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
Citation: Belani, Chandra P., Sherry Marts, Joan Schiller and Mark A. Socinski. "Women and lung cancer: Epidemiology, tumor biology, and emerging trends in clinical research," Lung Cancer, Volume 55, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 15-23.