The number of women living with cancer in the UK is set to almost quadruple over the next 30 years, far outstripping the number of men with the disease, a leading cancer charity is warning.
Figures from Macmillan Cancer Support forecast that the number of women with lung cancer will rise 35 times faster than the number of men with the illness between now and 2040.
In 2010, there were some 26,000 women living with lung cancer, which Macmillan predicts will almost quadruple to around 95,000 in 2040.
By contrast, the number of men with lung cancer is expected to rise by just 8%, from 39,000 in 2010 to 42,000 in 2040.
Macmillan-funded research carried out by King’s College London forecasts that the overall number of people living with lung cancer in the UK will have doubled by 2040, from 65,000 in 2010 to around 137,000.
By 2040 fewer than half (47%) of cases of lung cancer in women will be long-term survivors (alive at least five years from diagnosis) compared with three-fifths (59%) of men.
Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said the figures should serve as a reminder that lung cancer “is still very much a cancer killer”.
He said: “For most cancers in the UK we are looking at how we can cope with a population of long-term survivors with health complications. With lung cancer we are a long way from even being able to consider these issues.”
Devane added that it is “nonsensical” that research into lung cancer receives such “minimal” funding compared with other cancers.
In 2010, it received a quarter of the amount of research funding compared with breast cancer.
Macmillan says surgery is often under used as a treatment option for lung cancer, and argues that while it can be key to survival for many patients, access to it “varies dramatically” within the UK.
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