Women Underestimate Risk of Lung Cancer

Published Online: Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Responses from a survey conducted by the American Lung Association reveal that most women believe that breast cancer is the number 1 cancer killer of women, although lung cancer has caused more deaths among women for more than 25 years. The Women’s Lung Health Barometer surveyed more than 1000 American women 18 years and older about their perceptions of lung cancer. Their responses indicated that most women were misinformed about the disease and few were concerned about their risk.

When asked to identify the top cancer killer of women from a list of cancers, only 22% of women chose lung cancer, while 51% chose breast cancer. In addition, 58% of women claimed to be knowledgeable about lung cancer, but in reality, many did not know key facts about the disease. Many women indicated that they thought lung cancer was only a risk for smokers, and 49% said they were not concerned about developing the disease because they had quit smoking or had never smoked. Younger women were more likely to be misinformed about the disease than older women. Among those aged 18 to 35 years, 60% were not concerned about lung cancer because they did not smoke, compared with 46% of women belonging to Generation X and 40% of baby boomers.

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