In an excellent article in ConsumerAffairs.com, Dr. Henry J. Fishman reports that death from lung cancer poses an increasingly serious threat to women at a time when the disease is declining as a cause of death in men.
Amazingly, over the past Ã¢â‚¬Å“70 years, the death rate for lung cancer in women has gone up nearly 600 percent. In 1987, it passed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in women. All this at a time when lung cancer death rates among men are declining.Ã¢â‚¬ÂThe reason for this trend appears to be the fact that women Ã¢â‚¬Å“smoke too much.Ã¢â‚¬Â Thus, while the number ofÃ‚Â male smokers has declined by 50% since 1965, the number of women smokers has decreased by only 25%.
Teenage smoking is particularly problematic with respect to women. Not only do most women begin smoking as teenagers; they have continued to do so in increasing numbers notwithstanding Ã¢â‚¬Å“government warnings, school programs and expensive cigarettes.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â In fact, Ã¢â‚¬Å“smoking among teen-aged girls increased in the 1990s.Ã¢â‚¬Â A number of social pressures are work here includingÃ‚Â the need to Ã¢â‚¬Å“feel independent, be cool or lose weight.Ã¢â‚¬Â Massive advertising campaigns by the tobacco industry also add to the problem.
Adding to the problem is the fact that studies have shown that, for a variety of reasons, women are more susceptible to lung cancer, although they respond to chemotherapy better than men.
Dr. Fishman recommends that women Ã¢â‚¬Å“talk to their doctors about lung cancer, and all Americans need to take the problem of smoking more seriously.Ã¢â‚¬Â