Smoking said to be responsible for lung cancer in women

Smoking is being blamed for soaring rates of lung cancer among British women aged over 60.

New figures show that between 1975 and 2008, the annual number of British women over 60 diagnosed with lung cancer jumped from fewer than 6,000 to more than 15,000.

For women aged over 80, the number of cases leaped from 800 in 1975 to more than 4,700 in 2008.

Experts believe the trend is largely due to more women taking up smoking.

Cancer Research UK released the figures ahead of No Smoking Day on Wednesday.

Jean King, director of tobacco control at the charity, said: “These figures highlight how important tobacco control measures are in helping people to stop smoking.

“With the lung cancer rate rising among women we would like the Government to introduce a comprehensive and well-funded tobacco control strategy that targets at risk groups and stops young people from beginning an addiction that kills half of all long-term smokers.”

The charity said nine out of ten cases of lung cancer were caused by smoking and one in five people still smoked.

Overall, the number of women diagnosed with lung cancer has risen from around 7,800 cases in 1975 to more than 17,500 in 2008.

Figures for men are more positive, with the number of cases among those over 60 falling from 23,400 to 19,400.

Lung cancer incident rates among women aged 70 to 79 have levelled off over the last decade, while rates among younger women aged 40 to 49 fell by a fifth between 1975 and 2008.

Differing trends among men and women are said to mirror smoking patterns for each sex.

Men smoked most in the 1940s and 1950s, while more women started to take up the habit from the 1960s.
Source: Sky News

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