COPD and lung cancer cause significant morbidity and mortality, and the prevalence of both diseases is increasing in women. While tobacco consumption is the most important risk factor, the relationship may be more complex in women due to differential susceptibility to tobacco, hormonal and behavioral differences, and genetic variations. Gender biases persist and may affect both early diagnosis and treatment of COPD and lung cancer. In order to narrow practice gaps, improve knowledge, early recognition and diagnosis, the session The Specter of Gender: The Rising Toll of COPD and Lung Cancer in Women on Monday at 7:30 am in room 295 of the convention center, will review gender differences in epidemiology, risk assessment and prognostic factors, and screening in COPD and lung cancer. Chair of the session Anne Gonzalez, MD, FCCP, of McGill University Health Centre, answered a few questions from Daily News about the session.
What is the impetus for this session?
→ Although COPD and lung cancer have been historically considered ‘’men’s diseases,’’ the prevalence of both diseases continues to increase in women. Gender biases persist and may affect both early diagnosis and treatment of COPD and lung cancer.
What data do you have that shows COPD and lung cancer is increasing in women?
→ In 2000, for the first time, more women than men died of COPD in the United States.
The death rate from lung cancer in US women rose 600% from 1930 to 1997.
What puts women more at risk of COPD and lung cancer? And why are tobacco consumption reactions more complex in women?
→ The most important risk factor for both COPD and lung cancer remains tobacco consumption. However, there is evidence to suggest that women may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. This will be reviewed during the session.
What are the sex differences in epidemiology, risk assessment and prognostic factors, and screening in COPD and lung cancer that you will be reviewing?
→ This session will review recent epidemiological trends for both COPD and lung cancer, the basis for the increased risk of COPD and lung cancer in women, recommendations for lung cancer screening and COPD diagnosis, as well as gender differences in outcomes.
How will this session be beneficial for attendees and ultimately help women patients?
→ The overarching goal of this session is to raise clinicians’ awareness with regards to gender differences in the diagnosis and treatment of COPD and lung cancer, and to bridge some of the existing knowledge gaps. In this regard, we hope the session will be beneficial for attendees and ultimately their female patients.
Anything else you will address or any other points you will be making during the session?
→ This is a joint session between the Thoracic Oncology Network and the Women’s Health Network. This is a timely and clinically relevant topic, and we hope the session will appeal to a broad audience, despite the early timeslot!