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Another puzzling finding: Nonsmoking women are three times more likely to get lung cancer than nonsmoking men, according to a comprehensive 2014 report by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, called "Women's Health Can't Wait." Further, a February 2017 study by Cancer Research U. predicts that in the next 20 years, cancer rates will rise nearly six times faster in women than men.Women of color are at an even greater disadvantage."I started laughing," she says, "because, for 10 years, I knew something was wrong, and finally I was validated." As Mirza discovered, it can be hard to obtain quality medical treatment as a woman.

That could be because even when women—particularly young, healthy women—experience the same symptoms as men, doctors are still more likely to dismiss them."What [Mirza] experienced is a great example of the problem with us not recognizing women at risk—by the time we make a diagnosis, they are living with the consequences of the lack of care."The best-known incidents of medicine gone wrong in female patients are the many tragic stories of women who died after being sent home from emergency rooms while they were having heart attacks.In fact, a 2000 study published in found that women are seven times more likely than men to be misdiagnosed and discharged mid-heart-attack."If you're in health care and take care of a lot of women, you certainly hear these stories and shake your head, because you know what they're going to say, because you see it far too often, unfortunately.The bottom line is, we don't do as good of a job taking care of women as we do men." In the decade Mirza spent waiting for a proper diagnosis, her heart sustained damage that can never be undone.

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