Lung Cancer in Asian Women

Pingping Kuang, MD, PhD, Xuejun Kong, MD


The incidence of lung cancer has been observed to be two to three times higher among Asian women. The mortality rate of lung cancer in Asian women has also  significantly increased in the past few decades. The etiology for such increase remains elusive although studies have implicated and attributed it to both environmental factors and genetic predisposition. Among which, the most  consistent findings have shown  an association with exposure to oil vapor from high temperature cooking, the use of unrefined oil and indoor air pollution caused by open coal burning wok with inadequate ventilation. In addition, diet has been considered to be a contributing factor. Diets rich in anti-oxidants, such as fruits, leafy green vegetables, and vitamin A, may be protective, while cured meat, including Chinese sausage, and deep-fried cooking increased the risk. Human papillomavirus infection has also been linked to lung cancer among non-smoking females in a study in Taiwan. On the other hand, both active and passive smoking, may not be major risk factors for development of lung cancer in the Asian female population, according to the publications. The interplay between environmental and genetic factors seems to have a more fundamental role in lung cancer among Asian women.

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