Stoptober highlights continuing increase in women with lung cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

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 develop 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 developed lung cancer, but the incidence has increased to 39 out of every 100,000 in 2011, 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.

Tobacco causes more than a fifth of all cancer cases and around a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK every year.

But 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 per cent) of people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive the first year, and only 8 per cent will still be alive five years later.

"That is why it is important that people give Stoptober a go. We encourage all smokers to join the thousands of other taking part and help dramatically improve their long and short-term health."

Kate Alley, the charity's tobacco policy manager, said: "Quitting smoking is the best thing smokers can do for their health but breaking the nicotine addiction can be difficult. Initiatives like Stoptober are invaluable in giving smokers dedicated quit support for an entire month.

"Loosening the lethal grip of tobacco addiction must remain a priority if we are going to reduce the number of lives lost to smoking. We encourage all smokers to sign up and take the first steps to a healthier, tobacco free future."

Copyright Press Association 2013