ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) –– A new study shows that lung cancer rates are growing rapidly in women and people that have never smoked before in their lives.

According to LiveScience, the study found that non-smokers make up 11.9 percent of lung cancer cases, up by 7.9 percent from 2000. Researchers from the French College of General Hospital Respiratory Physicians also found that the number of female lung cancer patients rose to 24.4 percent over the decade. They studied 7,610 lung cancer patients and 7,610 new cases of the disease in 2010.

My Health News Daily reports that lung cancer rates for women who have a history of smoking barely changed over 10 years , which was at about 65 percent. According Health News Daily, women have a harder time quitting smoking than men because women’s brains respond differently to nicotine.

Dr. Chrystele Locher, lead researcher of the study, says non-smokers and women are dealing with more severe cases of lung cancer.

“Not only has there been an increase in the number of women and non-smokers contracting the disease, but there has also been an increase in the number of cases diagnosed in stage 4 of the illness,” Dr. Locher said, according to LiveScience.

In 2000, 43 percent of patients had stage 4 lung cancer, but in 2010 the number had grown to 58 percent. Researchers believe the higher percentages might come from a new classification of different stages of the disease.

Dr. Locher believes public awareness campaigns would help with the rise of cancer rates among women.

“Anti-smoking campaigns must also target women more specifically, as we can see little change in lung cancer rates caused by smoking in women,” she said, according to LiveScience.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 17 percent of adult women were smokers in 2010.


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