Two hundred and thirteen cases of female lung cancer diagnosed at Tokyo Medical College Hospital from 1981 through 1987 were studied. The female lung cancer cases composed 21.7% of all lung cancer cases (female to male ratio of 1: 3.6). Though adenocarcinoma was the most common histological type (69.0%), the ratio of squamous cell carcinoma increased after 1984. This bias was understood to reflect a rise in public concern for preventive medicine and increasing smoking habits. Approximately one quarter (25.9%) of adenocarcinoma and 70.6% of squamous cell carcinoma cases were smokers, suggesting a relationship between smoking habit and squamous cell carcinoma. The median survival rate was 15.7 months and the 5-year survival rate was 23.6%. The prognosis of female cases was significantly better than that of male cases. However, cases younger than 40 years old are not covered by the Elderly Health Law and as such are not included in health surveys. Therefore in this young age group only a few asymptomatic cases were detected on chest X-ray. Symptomatic cases were too advanced to operate. Encouragement to stop smoking and education of housewives, especially in high-risk groups and persuading them to undergo regular examinations should help to reduce female lung cancer or to increase early-stage detection.
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