Posted by on January 10, 2014 - 3:37pm

In the January of 1964, the Surgeon General made its first report linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer. Yesterday, the CDC announced a new triumph in the war against lung cancer by announcing that the rate of new lung cancer cases have decreased among men and women in the United States since 2005. Lung cancer incidence rates decreased 2.6% per year among men, and 1.1% per year among women. While, generally, this is a significant victory, the differing rates between men and women are troubling.

For many years, the female population was not smoking at the same rate as the male population, but the CDC stated, “smoking behaviors among women are now similar to those among men,” so “women are now experiencing the same risk of lung cancer as men.” If women have the same risk as men, it is troubling, therefore, that efforts to decrease new cancer incidences in women is declining at a slower rate than in men. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States, and sex-based research must be conducted to determine why women seem to be lagging behind men in these decreased incidences.

The CDC attributes these decreased rates to tobacco prevention and control programs. The CDC calls for a continued emphasis on local, state, and national tobacco prevention strategies to mitigate future lung cancer diagnoses. Some strategies that have been accredited to this reduced incidence rate are increased tobacco prices, smoke-free laws, restricted tobacco advertising, and a slew of mass media campaigns against smoking.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Posted by on April 16, 2013 - 10:27am

Women are much less likely than men to be diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer – an approximate four-to-one ratio – but there is little to suggest a gender-based defense or susceptibility. The discrepancy centers more on blue-collar occupations and workplaces that have been dominated traditionally by males.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that played a major role in the building of America throughout much the 20th century. Although the use of asbestos has dropped dramatically in recent decades – by comparison very little is actually used in America today – the risk of exposure lingers from all that remains in the buildings and the products left behind.

There also is the lengthy latency period (10 to 60 years) between exposure to asbestos and symptoms that can be diagnosed. An estimated 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually in the United States. The average life expectancy for a patient is only one year, but of course this can fluctuate because of a patient’s age, race, gender and a number of other demographics.

“People still are getting sick from being exposed to asbestos,” said Ken Rosenmen, M.D. Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine chief at Michigan State University. “Asbestos was once a useful product – and that’s why it was used so much – but we’re still paying the price for that.”

Michigan State University has been tracking mesothelioma cases throughout the state since 1985, reporting that only 25 percent of the cases involved women, which is comparable to trends throughout the country. The United States Centers of Disease Control (CDC) tracked 18,083 mesothelioma deaths during a recent six-year period and found that 19 percent (3,485) of cases occurred in women.

One study from Turkey determined that 160 women and only 115 men – from a pool of 100,000 exposed people – were at risk for mesothelioma cancer.

More definitive, though, is the type of mesothelioma that varied from men to women.  Among the men, 90.2 percent of cases were pleural mesothelioma (forming in the lungs), 8.3 percent were peritoneal mesothelioma (abdomen), and 1.1 percent was from other regions. Among the women, 71.1 percent of cases were pleural, 24.3 percent were peritoneal, and 3.1 percent were from other regions.

Mesothelioma for both men and women is generally difficult and slow to diagnose because symptoms often mirror those of less serious illnesses. Although millions of people year after year are exposed to asbestos in either the home or the workplace, only a small percentage develops mesothelioma.

There are stories about mesothelioma survivors, both men and women, with either pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma on the Wall of Hope section at Regardless of sex, both men and women can survive much longer with mesothelioma cancer than in the past thanks to innovative treatments.

Guest Author Tim Povtak has been a writer for since 2011. Prior to joining, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist.


Posted by on December 27, 2010 - 2:48pm

Study Estimates More than 600,000 Deaths Worldwide Caused by Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand tobacco smoke is estimated to have caused more than 600,000 deaths and the loss of more than 10 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) worldwide in 2004, according to the first analysis of its kind. Women and children were more likely than men to be exposed to secondhand smoke and to suffer morbidity and mortality from this exposure. The findings were published online November 25 in The Lancet.

Researchers led by Dr. Mattias Öberg of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, used data for their analysis from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey and 19 additional surveys published between 1980 and 2007. They used models to estimate the burden of disease from secondhand smoke exposure for countries without direct survey data. The research team used the comparative risk assessment method, which is based on the proportion of people exposed to a pollutant and the known relative risk of disease related to that exposure.

The authors estimate that, worldwide, 40 percent of children, 35 percent of female nonsmokers, and 33 percent of male nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke. In 2004, secondhand smoke caused 379,000 deaths from ischemic heart disease, 165,000 deaths from lower-respiratory infections, 36,900 deaths from asthma, and 21,400 deaths from lung cancer. Forty-seven percent of these deaths occurred among women and 28 percent occurred among children.

“Two-thirds of these deaths [among children] occur in Africa and south Asia…. The combination of infectious diseases and tobacco seems to be [deadly] for children in these regions,” wrote the authors. “Prompt attention is needed to dispel the myth that developing countries can wait to deal with tobacco-related disease until they have dealt with infectious diseases.

“The provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control should be enforced immediately to create complete smoke-free environments in all indoor workplaces, public places, and on public transport,” the authors recommended.

“This landmark study documents the global magnitude of the problem of secondhand smoke exposure and its devastating consequences,” said Dr. Cathy Backinger, chief of NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch. “These findings should encourage a sense of urgency for ensuring that nonsmokers are protected from secondhand smoke exposure—a completely preventable health hazard.”