Lung cancer increase among Welsh women, Cancer Research figures show

The number of women in Wales with lung cancer is still increasing warns the charity, Cancer Research UK.

It has analysed the latest available figures for lung cancer in Wales, which show that about 960 women were diagnosed with the illness in 2009.

It is a rate of 38 women in every 100,000 - in 1975 it was just 19 women per 100,000.

The charity says the figures highlight the sting in the tail from the peak of women smokers in the 1960s.

"The continuing rise of lung cancer in women reflects the high number of female smokers several decades ago when attitudes were different," said Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control.

"Tobacco advertising hasn't appeared on UK television since 1965, but that didn't stop the marketing of cigarettes.

"New, more sophisticated marketing techniques have lured many hundreds of thousands into starting an addiction that will kill half of all long term smokers."

Lung cancer still remains more common in men in Wales, with 1,300 cases recorded in 2009.

However, the period that saw the highest level of male smokers was some two decades before the habit peaked for women.

More than 65% of men smoked during World War II - and thirty years later, lung cancer in men hit a high of 115 men in every 100,000.

'Deadly impact'

Now, just 22% of Welsh men smoke, and the incidence rate of lung cancer in 2009 has dropped to 60 men per 100,000.

But the statistics also reveal the all-too grim truth behind the disease. In 2010, almost 1,800 people died from lung cancer in Wales, 1,000 men and about 800 women.

"These latest figures highlight the deadly impact of tobacco," added the charity's director.

She said legal measures to ban smoking in public places and bans on advertising had helped reduce the number of those people starting the habit.

But she said the campaigns now had to address the issue of what the charity believed was the last "marketing loophole" for tobacco - cigarette packet branding.

"It's vital that the UK closes one of the last remaining loopholes that portrays smoking as something glamorous and normal, rather than the lethal product it truly is.

"No one wants to see children take up smoking, and while plain packs won't stop everyone from smoking, it will give millions of children one less reason to start."

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