lung cancer continues to claim the lives of an increasing number of women in Europe, but there are positive signs that the tide may be turning, researchers said today.
Female death rates from lung cancer lag behind those of men because until recently large numbers of women did not smoke.
Fewer women die from the disease, but their numbers have been growing since the 1980s while male mortality has declined.
The latest study of female lung cancer trends in Europe shows that death rates are still rising in most countries.
But researchers today said there was room for cautious optimism, assuming more European women chose not to smoke.
In some countries, including England and Wales, death rates for lung cancer among women were declining or slowing down.
Cheryl Barrymore, wife of TV entertainer Michael, recently died of the disease.
Most hopefully there was clear evidence that younger women were heeding the “quit smoking” message and avoiding a premature death from lung cancer.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD