MORE women are being diagnosed with lung cancer than men in Scotland for the first time, in a reversal of historical trends.
The number of men affected by the cancer has now fallen to its lowest level in almost a quarter of a century, but the number of women suffering from the disease has risen.
Charities dealing with the disease say that the figures reflect increased smoking rates by women in the second half of the 20th century allied to Marketing campaigns aimed at female smokers. Men also appear to be better at giving up tobacco than women.
Research has suggested that women may be more at risk of developing the condition, even with the same lifetime exposure to tobacco smoke as men.
The latest figures show a 25 per cent increase in the number of women diagnosed with lung cancers in Scotland, from 2,040 in 1996 to 2,554 in 2016. It is now the second most common cancer among both women and men. However, there are signs that the rise in female cases is levelling off compared to the turn of the century since the increase in incidence since 2006 was just 2.4 per cent.
The number of men dropped over the same period from 2,863 to 2,491, a 12 per cent fall.
For men in Scotland, the most common cancer is prostate cancer, while in women breast cancer remains the most frequent form of the disease.
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “The Second World War saw a change in society and more liberal attitudes towards women. Women were out in the workplace and socialising. As a result, it became acceptable for women to start smoking.”
Citing the likes of screen icons such as Audrey Hepburn as role models who smoked in popular films, she added: “Tobacco giants were quick to capitalise on this and exploit its new customer base, creating advertising campaigns and products specifically targeting women. At this point in time, the dangers around cigarettes were not known and no one knew the serious impact smoking could have on a person’s health until it was too late. We are now see the repercussions of this.”
Joseph Carter, head of devolved nations at the British Lung Foundation, said that men were giving up smoking at a faster rate than women in Scotland. “Recent statistics show that while 10 per cent more women attempt to quit smoking, the success rates are slightly higher for men.”
Sheila Duffy, of campaign group Ash Scotland, said: “Tobacco companies have cynically targeted women by pushing a deceptive image of cigarettes as liberating and slimming, while also engineering their products to make them as addictive as possible.”
Source : HeraldScotland