Women with lung cancer on course to ‘substantially outnumber’ men

The number of people diagnosed with lung cancer is expected to double by 2045

The number of women in Ireland with lung cancer may “substantially outnumber” male cases in the coming years. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

The number of women in Ireland with lung cancer may “substantially outnumber” male cases in the coming years. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

 

The number of women in Ireland with lung cancer may “substantially outnumber” male cases in the coming years with diagnoses of the disease forecast to double over the next two decades, the Irish Cancer Society has warned.

A spokeswoman for the society suggested that the State was starting to see the knock-on effects of women who took up smoking in the 1960s and 1970s with female cases of the disease continuing to rise while male cases begin to fall.

Female cases of lung cancer could rise by 176 per cent by 2045 while the male rate of the disease continues to decrease, the society said, citing data from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI).

More than 2,500 Irish people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and the majority of people who get the disease are aged over 50. Researchers have linked as many as nine out of 10 lung cancer cases to smoking.

Main cause

The latest NCRI average figures suggest the average number of women diagnosed with lung cancer each year could rise from 1,130 in 2015 to 3,124 in 2045 while male cases could increase from 1,356 in 2015 to 2,633 in the same period.

Lung cancer is now the main cause of cancer deaths among women, outnumbering those linked to breast cancer. It is also the biggest cancer killer in Ireland for men.

Aoife McNamara of the Irish Cancer Society described the projected rise in lung cancer cases as alarming and called on the public to pay attention to any symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing of a persistent cough.