Women Have Better Survival Than Men After Lung Cancer Surgery

Findings from a new study published in Chest suggested that women had better survival rates after lung cancer surgery than men, independent of other factors.

Previous studies have established a difference in survival rates for men and women with lung cancer. A research team from the Karolinska Institutet in Solna, Sweden, sought to investigate this disparity. In other studies, the Karolinska team was able to establish an association between female sex and lower overall disease risk among Swedish women, as well as better overall cancer survival.

The investigators conducted a national population-based registry study of men and women after lung cancer surgery, considering factors such as socioeconomic status, smoking status, comorbidities, tumor characteristics, and type and extent of surgery. They enrolled 6,536 Swedish patients who underwent the procedure between 2008 and 2017. Follow-up was carried out 1, 5, and 10 years post-operation.

Over half of participants were women. Mean participant age was 67 years for women and 68 years for men. More women were non-smokers and had a lower incidence of comorbidities than men.

The analysis found that women had a 27% lower mortality post-operation compared to men, independent of factors such as comorbidities, age, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, physical function, type and extent of surgery, and tumor characteristics. Better survival for women was observed across all age categories, with the youngest patients being the sole exception. No pronounced difference was observed in survival among the youngest age group.

“Our findings are significant, as they suggest that the prognosis for lung cancer can likely be improved, but more research is needed in this area,” said co-author Veronica Jackson, MD, PhD, in a press release. “Further studies that specifically investigate the effects of lifestyle, sociocultural conditions and the presence of any inequalities in the delivery of care would likely be of value.”