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Lung cancer rising in women

13th April 2012

New figures have shown a sharp rise in lung cancer cases among women.

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Figures released by Cancer Research UK shows that more than 18,000 UK women were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, a rise on 8,000 cases in 1975.

With four out of five cases linked to tobacco, the figures are said to reflect smoking trends from 20 or 30 years ago.

While lung cancer is more common in men with 23,000 cases in 2009, rates have dropped significantly in the last three decades with incidence at about 59 per 100,000 UK men compared with 110 in 1975.

Similar figures for women were 39 in every 100,000 women in 2009 and 22 in 1975.

The charity’s information director Sara Hiom said: “More than four in five cases of the disease are caused directly by smoking. But this means nearly one in five cases is not.

“It’s really important that anyone with a cough that lasts for three weeks or a worsening or a change in a long-standing cough get this checked out. Also, it's never too late to give up smoking - you will reduce your risk of developing lung cancer and other serious diseases.”

During the Second World War, 65% of men smoked compared to 22% now while smoking rates for women peaked in the 1960s at 45% compared to 20% now.

The British Lung Foundation said it was concerned that while rates of lung cancer amongst men had virtually halved over the last 35 years, they had nearly doubled in women over the same period.

 

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