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Warning over women's lung cancer

7th March 2011

Data released by Cancer Research UK has shown lung cancer rates for women in their sixties and above have more than doubled since the 1970s.

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The figures showed that the numbers of women diagnosed with the disease increased from 88 per 100,000 in 1975 to 190 per 100,000 in 2008.

The charity said the number of men diagnosed with lung cancer decreased and this was associated with a drop in the amount of men who smoked.

The highest number of male smokers was recorded in the 1960s, while the peak amount of female smokers occurred in the 1960s and 70s. This has affected women in their sixties and above, causing the rise in rates of the disease.

The overall number of women diagnosed with lung cancer increased from 7,800 in 1975 to over 17,500 in 2008. The number of women aged over sixty with the disease rose from 5,700 in 1975 to 15,100 in 2008.

There were 23,400 cases in men aged over sixty in 1975, which fell to 19,400 in 2008.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "Around nine in 10 cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking and one in five people still smoke, so it's vital that work continues to support smokers to quit and protect young people from being recruited into an addiction that kills half of all long term smokers."

"In particular we want displays in shops covered up so that young people are no longer being exposed to this form of tobacco marketing."

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