Lung cancer is on the rise among Welsh women, new data shows. It is also the second most common form of cancer diagnosed in both men and women.
The Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit have published cancer incidence figures in Wales for the diagnosis period 2004-2008. New figures show that the incidence of lung cancer in women is increasing at an alarming rate. There has been a 10% increase in the number of women diagnosed with the disease in the past four years.
The main findings are -
There has been a slight increase in the total number of male malignancies excluding non melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in 2008 compared to 2007 - an increase of 0.2% on 2007 and an increase of 4.6% on 2004. There has been a larger increase for females in 2008 compared with 2007 at 185 registrations (or 2.2%) and an increase of 4.7% compared with 2004.
The majority of this increase in females in 2008 compared with 2007 can be attributed to breast cancer with an increase of 138 registrations at 2592 registrations.
Male lung cancer shows a slight increasing trend over the past few years whereas previously there had been a decreasing trend. However, females show a much larger increase for lung cancer than males in terms of numbers. The European Age Standardised Rate is continuing to decrease over the past three years for males but for females, increases and decreases over the five years with the highest EASR in 2008.
Other male cancers which show large increases in incidence in 2008 compared to previous years include rectum cancer and malignant melanoma of skin (with corresponding high EASRs).
For females, the largest increases in incidence in 2008 compared to previous years include lung cancer, malignant melanoma and breast cancer, all with the highest EASR in 2008.
New bladder cancer coding rules were implemented for those bladder cases diagnosed in 2007 according to the United Kingdom Association of Cancer Registries (UKACR). Hence, figures for bladder cancer diagnosed in 2007 and 2008 will be lower than those of previous years.
Overall, the EASR has decreased in 2008 for males compared with 2007 but has increased for females.
The report also shows cancer incidence statistics for the three cancer networks in Wales for the most common cancers. For all malignancies excluding NMSC the highest EASR in 2008 was in South East Wales Cancer Network for males and in North Wales Cancer Network for females.
Analyzing the data, Madeleine Brindley says in Western Mail that the highest incidences of lung cancer in Wales are found in areas with greater levels of social deprivation, which is in turn associated with a higher prevalence of smoking.
Dr Emrys Evans, chair of the British Lung Foundation Wales and a respiratory consultant at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, said: "These figures show that lung cancer remains a huge problem in Wales.
"It's the second most common cancer for both men and women, and the general trend in incidence is going up.
"Yet lung cancer doesn't always get the attention it deserves. We have to keep up the good work to tackle the causes, especially smoking.
"And we need to encourage anyone showing symptoms - such as a troublesome cough - to get themselves checked out straight away. Early diagnosis is absolutely crucial."