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Women’s lung cancer cases hit 20,000
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7th July 2015
AUK Staff
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 It really is devastating to see that the number of women diagnosed with lung cancer continues to climb
 Professor Caroline Dive
Cases of lung cancer in women have reached 20,000 a year in the UK for the first time since records began, according to new Cancer Research UK statistics.

Lung cancer rates in women have increased by 22%, soaring from around 14,200 cases diagnosed around 20 years ago.

Despite falling smoking rates, the number of lung cancer cases are yet to fall in women. This reflects different patterns in smoking behaviour, with men’s smoking peaking in the 1940s while women’s peaked around the 1970s.

The new areas of research include a way to study the disease once it has spread by isolating and studying individual tumour cells carried in a patient’s blood. This is part of a growing body of lung cancer research aimed at developing blood tests to monitor and understand how it changes and becomes resistant to drugs.

Professor Caroline Dive, a lead scientist on the project from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, said:

“It really is devastating to see that the number of women diagnosed with lung cancer continues to climb. We also know survival remains poor and one of the problems is that lung cancer tends to be diagnosed at a late stage when it has already spread. Cancer is very difficult to treat once it has spread around the body.

“It's very challenging to biopsy lung cancer and very hard for the patient too. The new technique we’re testing uses magnets to capture rogue cancer cells in patients’ blood and could be a more effective form of biopsy – providing vital information on the biology of the disease. And, ultimately, this could lead to better ways to treat patients.”

Nell Barrie, senior science communication manager at Cancer Research UK, said:

 The new technique we’re testing uses magnets to capture rogue cancer cells in patients’ blood and could be a more effective form of biopsy...
 Professor Caroline Dive
“It’s vital that we keep on fighting against lung cancer. It’s the biggest cancer killer in the UK so the Government and the health service must work to help smokers quit by providing more stop smoking services to help people give up this deadly addiction. If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your health is stop.

“It’s also essential to invest in new techniques to improve treatment for patients. This new form of biopsy is unique because samples are taken throughout a patient’s treatment allowing researchers to understand how drug resistance develops and how tumours evolve over time.”


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