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Obesity 'causing big rise in cases of womb cancer'

The number of women suffering womb cancer is at its highest for more than 30 years -- with obesity playing a key role, new figures released today reveal.

Rates have shot up, from 13 per 100,000 women in 1975 to more than 19 per 100,000 more than 30 years later.

More than 7,530 women develop the disease every year in the UK, up from 4,813 in 1993.

Skin

Experts at Cancer Research UK, which released the figures, believe reasons behind the rise include more women being overweight or obese and women having fewer or no children.

Womb cancer is the fourth most common cancer among British women, killing 1,741 in 2008.

Over the last decade, the disease has become the second fastest growing cancer in women after malignant melanoma skin cancer.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of health information, said: "These figures show that we're still seeing a year on year rise in the number of women diagnosed with womb cancer and more needs to be done to tackle this.

"Women can reduce their risk of developing the disease by keeping a healthy weight, taking regular exercise and reducing the amount of alcohol they drink.

Vital

"All women should be aware of the symptoms of womb cancer which include abnormal vaginal bleeding -- especially for post-menopausal women -- abdominal pain and pain during sex.

"Although these symptoms don't usually mean cancer, as they could be signs of other diseases like fibroids or endometriosis, it's still vital to get them checked by a doctor.

"The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more likely treatment will be successful." Womb cancer tends to develop later in life, with women aged 60 to 79 most at risk.

Rates in this age group have nearly doubled since 1975 -- from around 40 women in every 100,000 to over 75 in every 100,000 in 2007.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "These figures reflect that the number of people getting cancer is increasing and this must be recognised.

"There are currently two million people living with a cancer diagnosis and this will double by 2030 so we need to be planning for the future.

"Cancer is no longer necessarily a death sentence and NHS and social care services need to adapt to ensure appropriate long term care is in place for cancer survivors."

hnews@herald.ie


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