New research published in the journal Chest shows that women fare better than men following lung cancer surgery. The study comes from researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and reveals that independent of other factors, women show higher survival rates post-surgery.
The study came about as an effort to better comprehend the relationship between disease risk and sex, a link that has shown conflicting results in lung cancer treatment. "The healthcare sector is always striving to offer all patients equal treatment tailored to their individual needs," said first author Erik Sachs, resident in cardiothoracic surgery at Karolinska University Hospital and doctoral student at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery at Karolinska Institutet. "This kind of study can help shed light on systematic differences that ultimately affect patient outcomes."
To conduct the study, the researchers analyzed data from a national registry to look at the differences in survival in women and men after lung cancer surgery. They looked at data from a sample of 6,536 patients who underwent lung cancer surgery in Sweden from 2008-2017; roughly half were women. The mean age was 67 years for women and 68 years for men.
The study also considered other factors such as socioeconomic differences, age, smoking status, comorbidities, tumor characteristics, and the type and extent of surgery. When analyzing their results, the researchers determined that women had 27% lower mortality compared to men, independent of all the above-mentioned factors. Furthermore, they say this increased the survival rate was seen in women of all ages.
"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," says study author Veronica Jackson, a researcher at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, a specialist in thoracic surgery. "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."