Women's lung cancers has doubled since 1970s in over-60s

Lung cancer Most lung cancers are linked to smoking

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Lung cancer rates have more than doubled for women over 60 since the mid-1970s, figures show.

Cancer Research UK figures say the rate rose from 88 per 100,000 in 1975 to 190 per 100,000 in 2008, the latest year for which statistics are available.

Lung cancers in men fell, and CRUK say this is linked to smoking rates.

The proportion of male smokers peaked before 1960. But women had rising rates in the 1960s and 1970s, which would have an effect on those now over 60.

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 went from 23,400 over-60s diagnosed in 1975, falling to 19,400 in 2008, with rates showing a similar large drop.

The charity said 5,700 women over 60 were diagnosed with lung cancer in 1975, compared with 15,100 in 2008.

Exposure

In the late 1980s, lung cancers in women in their 60s plateaued, and even started to fall.

But they began to rise again in 2002.

However cancer rates among women in their 40s did fall between 1975 and 2008.

Smoking causes around 90% of lung cancers, and CRUK wants more efforts to be put into anti-smoking measures.

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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