Even though the majority of smokers and lung cancer patients are men, the incidence of lung cancer among women especially non-smokers is rapidly increasing. Women smokers are increasing under the garb on “women’s empowerment”.
“But there is some science to suggest that women might react differently to nicotine and that women’s DNA is damaged more easily and more profoundly by carcinogens in tobacco.”
Research in the US, UK and Taiwan suggest that the proportion of lung cancer patients who never have smoked is going up.
The biggest culprit though is secondhand smoke which increases the risk of lung cancer by 20-30%. The chances of a non-smoking woman being married to a smoker are relatively higher than the other way round and generally, women and children lack the power to claim smoke-free spaces.
Gender-based roles in some societies where the use of indoor coal fires and certain cooking fuels increase the risk of lung cancer among women. Air pollution is also a factor that can contribute.
Despite the many other factors that can cause lung cancer, there is still stigma attached to it as most people believe it is caused by smoking.
“Anybody who has sinister chest symptoms needs to seek urgent medical advice, especially if these are long-term or not resolved with antibiotics…In particular, coughing up blood is “a red flag symptom”, whether someone ever has smoked or not.”
Thus, non-smokers, especially women, unfortunately, have a false sense of security and do not recognize the symptoms of lung cancer until it has reached an advanced stage.
Read the full article for more information on what makes women more susceptible to lung cancer https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180625-why-the-rate-of-women-getting-lung-cancer-is-rising