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Women smoking more, getting cancer

2012-03-31 10:31 Shanghai Daily     Web Editor: Zang Kejia comment

Lung cancer is rising steadily in Shanghai, particularly among women, experts at a lung cancer forum said yesterday.

The number of women with lung cancer rose 38.4 percent over the past five years, while the growth rate for men was 16.9 percent, though men are still far more likely to have the deadly disease. Medical experts said the more dramatic rise in female cases stems from more women, many them young, taking up smoking.

The incidence of lung cancer among local men is 88 in every 100,000 people and 29.9 per 100,000 for women.

"Though women with lung cancer are still fewer than men, there is a rising tendency," said Dr Lu Shun from the Shanghai Chest Hospital.

"Smoking-control education usually focuses on men, ignoring the female. Many women thought female cigarettes are low tar and less harmful than men. The concept is wrong," Lu said.

Lung cancer is the most prevalent cancer for local men and the second-most common cancer for local women, after breast cancer. But it is the top cancer killer for both men and women in China.

Experts said smoking is the main culprit behind lung cancer: The chance of getting it is 20 times higher for smokers than non-smokers. "People smoking 20 cigarettes or more per day are at high risk for lung cancer," Lu said.

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