A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) involving nearly 17,000 US smokers confirms that women are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as men.

Paradoxically, the new findings also suggest that women are more likely than men to survive the disease, should it arise.

The results of this international, multicenter study—led by Claudia Henschke, MD, PhD, of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City—could have important lessons for public health efforts aimed at reducing deaths due to smoking.

“These findings highlight the need to educate younger women that they are at higher risk of developing lung cancer, even when they’re smoking the same amount as men,” said Henschke, principal investigator of I-ELCAP and chief of Chest Imaging in the Department of Radiology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, and professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Based on their excess vulnerability to tobacco smoke, women may also need to get screened for lung cancer earlier than men,” she adds.

The findings are published in the July 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).