Published on March 01, 2019

Women: Know these things about lung cancer

Woman making wishHere’s a fact that may surprise you: Lung cancer—not breast cancer—is the No. 1 cancer killer of U.S. women. That’s been the case since 1987, in fact.

The top reason why women develop lung cancer is smoking, which causes the vast majority of lung cancer deaths in both women and men.

Smoking isn’t the only risk factor for lung cancer, however. About 1 in every 5 American women diagnosed with lung cancer has never smoked. One reason is that other things besides smoking can cause lung cancer. Those risks include being exposed to radon or secondhand smoke or having a family history of lung cancer.

Whether you smoke or not, see your doctor right away if you develop these common signs and symptoms of lung cancer:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored spit or phlegm
  • Chest pain that often worsens with deep breathing, coughing or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back
  • New onset of wheezing