Health officials have raised concerns about the “continuing rise” in the number of women who are diagnosed with lung cancer.
While the number of men who suffer from the disease has rapidly decreased since 1990, the incidence among women has slowly crept up.
In 1990, 32.6 out of every 100,000 women in England suffered from lung cancer but figures from 2011 show that the incidence rate has increased to 39 out of every 100,000, according to data from the UK Cancer Information Service.
Experts at Public Health England have urged people to take part in Stoptober - the annual challenge encouraging smokers to quit for the whole month of October - to attempt to buck the trend.
Many smokers will stub out their last cigarette as they take part in the ”mass quit” attempt, which starts today.
Research has shown that people who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smoke-free.
Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “We are seeing worrying levels of smoking among women which is clearly having an impact on their health and reported cases of lung cancer. Smoking is one of the main causes of lung cancer, and survival rates are very poor. Less than a third (30%) of people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive the first year, and only 8% will still be alive five years later.
“That is why it is important that people give Stoptober a go. If smokers can stop for 28-days they are five times more likely to be able remain smoke-free for good, and we would encourage all smokers to join the thousands of other taking part and help dramatically improve their long and short-term health.”
Chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies, the government’s principle medical adviser, added: “It is worrying to see the rising number of women living with and dying from lung cancer.
“One in two long-term smokers die as a result of smoking, this is the single biggest cause of premature death taking more than 100,000 lives in the UK and costing the NHS up to £2.7 billion each year.
“Taking part in the challenge is a first step to a longer and healthier life so have a go, by stopping with Stoptober.”
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