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Lung cancer on the rise in young women in the UK

According to the latest report by the Cancer Research UK, lung cancer is on the rise in young women in the UK. Cancer Research UK reports that more than 18,000 women in the UK were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 compare with fewer than 8,000 women who were diagnosed with the disease in 1975.

Lung cancer linked to smoking

The report links more than 80% of lung cancer cases in the country to tobacco smoking. Smoking rates among women in Britain were highest during the 1960’s. At the time, more than 45% of women were smokers. This figure has fallen and only 20% of women now smoke, but Cancer Research UK's information director Sara Hiom still believes the rate is still far too high. She said:

"Lung cancer continues to claim far too many lives. More than four in five cases of the disease are caused directly by smoking. But this means nearly one in five cases is not."

Lung cancer rates still higher in men

Despite the bleak picture among women in the UK, lung cancer is still more common in men than women. More than 23,000 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in men in 2009, but the cancer rates among men have been falling fast.

During the second world war, male smoking rates reached their highest at 65%. This rate is now down to 22%. Less than 59 in every 100,000 men in UK smoke compared to 110 in 1975. The figure for women was 22 in every 100,000 in 1975 now up to 39 in every 100,000 women, as of 2009.

Health warning

Honorary medical advisor at the British Lung Foundation Dr John Moore-Gillon had this to say about the rising lung cancer cases in women:

“It is concerning that, while rates of lung cancer amongst men have nearly halved over the last 35 years, they have nearly doubled in women over the same period.”

He continued: “Fewer smoke now, but still far too many: The teenage girls and young women we see around us smoking today are the lung cancer statistics of the future.”

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