Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Women Over 50
Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Women Over 50 Did you know that the symptoms of lung cancer are often different in women than in men? However, it is not just the symptoms that differ. Many aspects of lung cancer, from the most common types of disease to survival, differ between the sexes. Let’s look at the ways that lung cancer is unique in women, and what you need to know to make sure you get the best medical care possible.
In women, lung cancer differs from lung cancer in men in many ways. However, despite the obvious differences in our appearance, we tend to bring men and women together when we talk about the disease. This is unfortunate because the reasons, the responses to various treatments, the survival rate and the most common symptoms are different. What are some facts about lung cancer in women?
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women and kills women every year due to breast cancer, uterine cancer, and combined ovarian cancer. Although the number one cause was smoking, 20 percent of women who developed lung cancer never touched cigarettes. In addition, smokers are more likely to have lung cancer than women who are currently smoking.
Once considered a “male disease”, lung cancer is no longer discriminatory. In 2017, 116,990 men and 105,510 women are estimated to be diagnosed with the disease.
Lung cancer occurs at a slightly younger age in women than in men, and nearly half of the lung cancers in young adults occur in women. While the reason is uncertain (but not explained by smoking), a 2018 study surprised many when it was discovered that the incidence of lung cancer in young women was greater than the incidence in young men, and this could not be explained by the difference sin smoking behavior. Only recently (data from 1995 to 1999) when the incidence was higher in males. Statistics examining gender-based incidence from 2010 to 2014 have shown that women are between 30 to 34, 35 to 39, 40 to 44 and 45 to 49 percent of cases of lung cancer.
BAC (Bronchoalveolar carcinoma), a condition re-classified as a form of pulmonary adenocarcinoma, is a rare form of lung cancer that is more common in women. For unknown reasons, the incidence of BAC (currently classified as pulmonary adenocarcinoma) is increasing worldwide, particularly among young and non-smoking women.
These differences in the types of lung cancer between women and men may explain some of the differences in the most common symptoms in men and women.
Although smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer in women, a higher proportion of women who develop lung cancer are among non-smokers.
Some of the causes may include radon exposure in our homes, second-hand smoke, other environmental and occupational exposures, or genetic predisposition. Recent research suggests that infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) may also play a role.
Read more: Lung Cancer Symptoms in Women Over 50
We have learned that the symptoms of heart attack are different in women and men and this is the case in lung cancer.
Men with lung cancer are more likely to have respiratory infections due to persistent coughing, spitting blood, or tumors obstructing the airways. Instead, the first symptoms of lung cancer in women are usually an unclear feeling of shortness of breath (sometimes due to age or weight gain or malformation) and fatigue.
These differences in symptoms may, at least in part, be related to differences in the type of lung cancer between women and men.
Males are more likely to develop small-cell lung cancer or squamous cell lung cancer. These cancers often grow near or in the large airways of the lungs. They can easily cause coughing, bleeding or blockages in the airways that cause infections such as pneumonia or collapse of the lungs (atelectasis).
In contrast, pulmonary adenocarcinoma is by far the most common type of lung cancer in women. These tumors usually grow in the periphery of the lungs, away from the large airways. For this reason, they are less likely to give rise to a cough, cause a person to cough up the blood, or obstruct the airways that lead to infections.
Instead, adenocarcinomas can grow quite large before being detected. This growth can lead to slowly worsening the lack of breath and fatigue. Women often have no symptoms until these lung cancers have spread (metastatizados) to other regions of the body. Brain metastases can cause eye symptoms, numbness, or weakness. Metastases to the bones can cause bone pain, back pain, chest pain, or shoulder pain. Other symptoms related to metastatic cancer may occur in general, such as unintentional weight loss.
Less common symptoms
As mentioned above, the most common types of lung cancer in men tend to grow near Central Airways. These tumors tend to cause symptoms in the progression of the disease, which is due to the presence of tumors in the vicinity of the airways. As can be seen earlier in lung cancers located in men with a cough, blood clotting (atelectasis) and cough, which causes lung collapse.
Another group of symptoms that are occasionally seen with lung cancer is something called paraneoplastic syndrome. A paraneoplastic syndrome is a group of symptoms caused by hormone-like substances secreted by tumors and is most often seen with small cell lung cancers, squamous cell lung cancers, and cell carcinomas Large, cancers that are most often found in men.
Paraneoplastic symptoms may include a high level of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), a low level of sodium, weakness in the upper limbs, loss of coordination, and muscle cramps among other symptoms.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Women Over 50
The treatments you and your doctor choose, often include a combination of therapies. To understand how they are used, it can help define the purpose of these different treatments.
- Local treatments-local treatments are designed to eliminate cancer cells at the source, locally, and include surgery and radiotherapy.
- Systemic treatments-systemic treatments are designed to treat cancer cells in any part of the body, not just in the lungs. This is important if cancer has spread beyond the lungs or if there is a possibility that at least a few cells have traveled beyond the lungs. Systemic treatments include chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy.