Facts about Lung Cancer Symptoms, Even for Non-smokers

A recent article reported in Good Housekeeping focused on the similarities and differences between men and women, as well as the risk factors, latest statistics and most common symptoms of lung cancer. Bryan P. Stanifer, MD, assistant professor of surgery and director of the Women’s Lung Program at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, weighed in on the topic.

The article referenced a study by the American Cancer Society which recenlty found incidence rates of lung cancer have become “significantly higher" among young women than young men, where white and Hispanic women were more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Smoking behaviors did not play a role in the findings. To this point, Dr. Stanifer explained the complete shift from a historical pattern. “It used to be 55% to 60% male smokers, but that has changed,” he said. “When most people think of lung cancer, they imagine a 72-year-old man who smoked for 40 years. Today, there is this huge population of never-smokers, who are mostly women and who skew younger. In fact, it’s to the point now where if you’re younger than 50, you’re more likely to be a woman, than a man, if you have lung cancer.” 

Dr. Stanifer specializes in thoracic and cardiac surgery. Prior to joining Columbia in 2017 he completed his fellowship as the chief fellow in thoracic surgery at Northwestern University. For more on Dr. Stanifer’s expertise in lung cancer symptoms and to read what other experts had to say, visit Good Housekeeping.