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UK women's cancer rising faster than men's

Press Association logoPress Association 3/02/2017

Cancer rates in the UK's women is rising six times faster than cancer in the country's male populations, with obesity partly to blame, new research shows.

Data published by Cancer Research UK shows that unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to a rise in cancer cases among both sexes, but women are bearing the brunt of the increase.

The charity predicts that over the next 20 years, cancer rates will climb nearly six times faster in women than in men.

UK cancer rates will rise by around 0.5 per cent for men and 3 per cent for women, meaning an estimated 4.5 million women and 4.8 million men will be diagnosed with cancer by 2035.

Some types of cancer only affect women and are linked to being obese.

These include womb cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer (after the menopause) while cervical and oral cancers are also on the rise among women.

Although smoking rates are now falling across the UK, historically women only took up smoking in large numbers after the habit was already popular among men.

This means the impact of smoking on women and their risk of lung cancer is being felt keenly now.

Drinking alcohol is also impacting on women's cancer rates, but not to the same degree as smoking and obesity, Cancer Research UK said.

"These new figures reveal the huge challenge we continue to face, both in the UK and worldwide," Cancer Research UK chief executive Sir Harpal Kumar said.

"The latest figures show that more than eight million people die from cancer each year across the world," Kumar said.

"More people die from cancer than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis put together."

Breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancer are the most common cancers, accounting for more than half (53 per cent) of new cases of cancer each year in the UK.

"Cancer is a devastating disease and it is concerning that rates are predicted to rise so sharply in women, especially as so many cancer cases could be prevented," World Cancer Research Fund head of health information Sarah Toule said.

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