In the battle of the sexes, no one wants to win for “highest rate of lung cancer”, but women are slowly earning the title. Overall lung cancer rates and the rate among men have both gone down over the past three decades, but the rate of lung cancer in women has simultaneously increased, stumping doctors and researchers.
Men still suffer a higher rate of lung cancer than women overall, but the chart below shows how the balance is slowly tipping. Researchers suspect that estrogen may play a role, possibly encouraging the growth of cancerous cells, but behaviors might also be a factor: While women typically start smoking later, they also take longer to quit.
Though research on estrogen and cancer isn’t yet conclusive, ditching your cigarettes quick should be a top priority if you’re a smoker.