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Lung cancer rates up among women

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Lung cancer rates among British women aged 60 and over have almost tripled in 30 years, with health campaigners blaming smoking for the significant increase.

New figures have shown that more than 15,100 British women in their sixties or older were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008, up from the 5,700 total recorded in 1975. The number of cases among females aged over 80 jumped from 800 to 4,700 over the same timescale.

However, lung cancer rates among 70 to 79-year-old women have levelled off in the past 10 years while the number of cases among women aged between 40 and 49 fell by a fifth between 1975 and 2008.

Jean King, director of tobacco control at Cancer Research UK, 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.”

There was a more positive trend among men - those over 60 diagnosed with lung cancer fell from 23,400 to 19,400, the figures showed.

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