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Cancer-related Death Rates are Falling, But Less for Women who Smoke

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Cancer-related Death Rates are Falling, But Less for Women who Smoke

CCS reports that cancer-related death rates are falling, but less for women who are slower to quit smoking.

Overall cancer deaths are declining among Canadians, but less so for women. According to a new report released by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), it’s because many women have been slower to butt out.

Cancer-related death rates have dropped by 21 percent for men, but only 9 percent for women. The slow decline for women is due to the increase in lung cancer, which the CCS attributes to the slow decline in smoking amongst women. The smoking rates for women did not begin to decline until the 1980s, whereas, for men they began to decline in the 1960s.

Although smoking rates have dropped for both men and women, and lung cancer has decreased among men by 30 percent, CCS still estimates that men smoke more than women (20 percent compared to 14 percent respectively) and more men than women are diagnosed with cancer (52 percent versus 48 percent).

Smoking still accounts for about 30 percent of all cancer deaths; more than one-quarter of all cancer deaths (27 percent) are due to lung cancer; and smoking is also linked to an increased risk of at least 18 types of cancer.

Many forms of cancer are preventable
CCS reminds us, “Tobacco use, along with unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, excess body weight, alcohol consumption, over-exposure to the sun and exposure to environmental and workplace carcinogens account for a substantial number of cancer diagnoses and deaths each year.”

“A large body of evidence has accumulated over the last 30 years showing that about half of cancers can be prevented,” says Gillian Bromfield, Director, Cancer Control Policy, Canadian Cancer Society. “Even greater gains can be made in reducing cancer rates if more is done to help Canadians embrace healthy lifestyles and if governments do more to create policies that encourage people to make these changes.”

Read more about how smoking kills, tips for quitting, and how to reduce cancer risk.

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