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

Ann Thorac Surg. 1998 Oct;66(4):1140-3; discussion 1143-4. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(98)00557-8.


Background: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / therapy
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Rate