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Lung Cancer in Never-Smoking Women

Brahmamdam, Vaishnavi (2022) Lung Cancer in Never-Smoking Women. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide and the most common cause of cancer mortality in women in the United States. Approximately 80 percent of all lung cancer cases are due to personal cigarette smoking habits, the other 20 percent are attributed to other risk factors. The incidence of lung cancer in never-smokers (LCINS), particularly in women, is rising and of major public health concern. Potential risk factors impacting the development of LCINS and the sex disparity in the observed incidence are not fully understood and requires further investigation.

I conducted a literature review of existing studies assessing the impact of potential risk factors on lung cancer development in never-smoking women. Using the main themes and gaps identified in the literature review, I subsequently developed a questionnaire that aims to improve our understanding of the role environmental and clinical factors play in lung cancer development in never-smoking women. Main themes identified include moderate to strong associations between lung cancer risk in never-smoking women and secondhand smoke, radon, occupational exposures, medical history of chronic respiratory conditions, family history of lung cancer, and air pollution. The greatest gap identified by many of the evaluated studies is the role of reproductive and hormonal history in lung cancer development in this population.

Using the identified main themes and gap, existing questionnaire databases and epidemiological surveys, and articles about questionnaire design and development, I created an 84-question patient questionnaire. The questionnaire was categorized into 12 sections: demographics, cigarette smoking, other smoking habits, secondhand smoke, alcohol, BMI, medical history, family history, reproductive and hormonal history, radon, occupational history, and residential history.

The public health significance of this project is that the questionnaire findings may expand our knowledge of the risk factors involved in lung cancer development in never-smoking women and explain the observed sex disparity in lung cancer incidence in never-smokers. The results may also inform policy reform to address occupational and residential exposures and air pollution regulation. Ultimately, the questionnaire findings may allow public health professionals and practitioners to improve screening methods and treatment options for never-smoking women.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDiergaarde, Brena Bernadinebbd3@pitt.edubbd3UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberStabile, Laurastabilela@upmc.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 16 May 2022
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 25 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 82
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Public Health Genetics
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: lung cancer, never-smokers, risk factors, never-smoking women
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 19:34
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 19:34


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