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Sharp Increase in Cancer over One Generation

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Cancer rates have risen by a fifth over a generation according to new statistics.

The number of cases diagnosed in those aged 40-59 has risen from 44 000 in 1979 to 61 000 in 2008.  After confounding variables have been accounted for, this equates to an 18% rise.

The biggest increase has been in women who are now 25% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, whilst the rise in men is only 6.7%

However, it is expected that the most common reason for such increases is better detection as oppose to more unhealthy lifestyles.

Never the less, unhealthy lifestyles do play a part. Talking about the rise in breast cancer in women, Ella Wheaton, a cancer research statistician stated that, “Increased use of the contraceptive pill, changes to average bodyweight, increased alcohol consumption and having children later in life all increase breast cancer risk, and as these phenomena become more common, so we’re seeing more cases, and increased rates, of breast cancer.”

Among middle-aged women, the most common cancers remain those of the breast, lung, and bowel, in said order.

Additionally, while lung cancer rates have dropped by 60 per cent in men, in women they have rapidly increased. It is expected that an increase in women taking up smoking may be to blame, whilst the rates of smoking in men continues to drop.
Ms Wheaton added that there was “good news” too, “The chances of surviving the disease at least 10 years has doubled to almost 50 per cent.”

This is due to earlier diagnosis, better radiotherapy and more effective drugs.

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