Objectives The “one-eyed science” pointed out by some authors has contributed to the invisibilization of working conditions as a health determinant among women. Our objectives were to document current epidemiological practices in the assessment of work-related lung cancer risks, and to discuss how gender-related biases compromise the scientific validity of exposure and risk estimates among women, as compared to men.
Method A systematic literature review over the last 7 years was performed, and based on the screening of 410 abstracts retrieved from PubMed, 122 articles were retained. Data were collected through a questionnaire, and analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Articles were classified according to the gender distribution of the study sample as either men only, women only or mixed.
Results Androcentrism was present, as nearly 50% of studies recruited men-only participants. Moreover, 45% of them were subject to an overgeneralization of study results. Gender-insensitivity could be observed from the papers (35%) which did not provide justification for the gender composition of study sample. A double standard was also suspected in the exposure assessment methods. Sex and gender-related terms were found to be frequently used interchangeably.
Conclusions Upgraded results with an increased sample size are forthcoming. Meanwhile, these preliminary results raise the question of the “gender bias” in epidemiology, and how sex and gender should be taken into account in the design, conduct, analysis and dissemination of results in order to minimise gender-related biases and reinforce the scientific validity of research.
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