WOMEN in their late 30s and early 40s are twice as likely to contract cancer as men, according to official figures in the UK. People in the north of England are also at increased risk.
The relatively high rate of cancer among women aged 35-44 is largely due to breast cancer. The most common male cancers tend to strike later, experts said.
Figures for 2011 released by the UK's Office for National Statistics showed that breast cancer remained the most common cancer among women (30.7pc of new cases, affecting 42,000), ahead of lung (11.6pc) and colorectal (11.2pc).
However, elderly men have much higher cancer rates than elderly women. Men aged 65-69 have a 37pc higher chance of contracting the disease than women of the same age and that rises to 63pc among the over-85s.
Nick Ormiston-Smith, statistical information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Overall, men are more likely to get cancer than women across all ages. You're about 14pc more likely to develop cancer at some point if you're a man."
Cancer rates were higher than expected for both sexes in the north of England.
Mr Ormiston-Smith said: "There is evidence that people from lower socio-economic groups are more likely to develop cancer."
Ciaran Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "The number of new cases of cancer diagnosed has soared by nearly a fifth in 10 years." (© Independent News Service)