London: Lung cancer rates for older women have more than doubled since the mid-1970s because of an increase in the number of female smokers, says new research.
Rates for British women aged 60 and over rose from 88 per 100,000 in 1975 to 190 per 100,000 in the latest figures from 2008.
Almost 5,700 women over 60 were diagnosed with lung cancer in 1975. This jumped to more than 15,100 in 2008.
The rise, revealed by Cancer Research UK, can almost all be attributed to increase in smoking among women in the latter half of the last century, the Telegraph reports.
Men on the other hand have seen a dramatic decrease in rates as millions have stopped smoking over the same period.
Figures for men show around 23,400 over 60 years were diagnosed with lung cancer in 1975, falling to around 19,400 men in 2008.
Lung cancer is unique in that the reduction or increase in its cases is directly linked to a reduction or increase in smoking, which causes around 90 percent of these.
Men had the highest smoking rates in the 1940s and 50s and these have been falling from then. Women had rising rates in the 1960s and 70s.
Jean King, Cancer Research UK`s director of tobacco control, said: "These figures highlight how important tobacco control measures are in helping people to stop smoking."