Special Communication | Clinician's Corner

Lung Cancer in US Women:  A Contemporary Epidemic

Jyoti D. Patel, MD; Peter B. Bach, MD; Mark G. Kris, MD
JAMA. 2004;291(14):1763-1768. doi:10.1001/jama.291.14.1763.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in US women and is responsible for as many deaths as breast cancer and all gynecological cancers combined. Most lung cancer is caused by cigarette smoke. Despite all that is known about the devastating effects of cigarettes, one quarter of women in the United States continue to smoke. Women are targeted in tobacco advertising, and teenage girls are often drawn to cigarette smoking under a variety of social pressures.

Following the increase in smoking, the death rate from lung cancer in US women rose 600% from 1930 to 1997. Women may be more susceptible than men to the carcinogenic properties of cigarette smoke. In addition, differences in the biology of lung cancer exist between the 2 sexes with higher levels of DNA adduct formation, increased CYP1A1 expression, decreased DNA repair capacity, and increased incidence of K-ras gene mutations in women. The novel estrogen receptor β has also been detected in lung tumors and suggests that estrogen signaling may have a biological role in tumorigenesis. Given these differences and given the enormous toll this disease has on US women, undertaking sex-specific research in lung cancer is crucial. Finally, disseminating information about this epidemic may prevent a similar epidemic in other parts of the world where women are just now becoming addicted to tobacco.

Figures in this Article

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours


Figure. Age-Adjusted Death Rates for Lung Cancer and Breast Cancer Among Women, United States, 1930-1997
Graphic Jump Location
Adapted from a recent Surgeon General's report.3




You need to register in order to view this quiz.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Web of Science® Times Cited: 142

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles
Epidemiology of Lung Cancer. Semin Intervent Radiol 2013;30(2):93-98.