Gender Neutral: Men, Women Face Same Cancer Risk from Smoking
Seppa, N., Science News
Over the past decade, the scientific community has turned up conflicting evidence regarding whether cigarettes impart a greater risk of lung cancer to women than to men. In the largest comparison to date, researchers now report that the sexes share a roughly equal risk of developing the cancer from smoking.
The scientists also analyzed data from six other studies and arrived at the same conclusion. The findings appear in the June 2 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
"This paper does a good job of putting the debate to rest," says Thomas V. Perneger, a physician at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who didn't participate in the study.
Several studies in the 1990s had suggested that women who smoked fared worse than male smokers. However, those studies documented smoking behavior on the basis of people's recollections, says Diane Feskanich, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She also notes that some studies failed to compare women and men headto-head and instead examined differences in lung cancer rotes between smokers and nonsmokers within each gender.
Feskanich and her colleagues used data from two massive studies--one of female nurses and one of men in various health professions--in which the participants contributed updates on their health and lifestyle practices every 2 years. …