The number of women diagnosed with womb cancer is at its highest for over 30 years according to new figures published today by Cancer Research UK which show more than 7,530 people now* develop the disease each year in the UK.
Experts believe the reasons for the continuing rise in womb cancer include more women being overweight or obese and women having fewer or no children.
In 1975, 13 in every 100,000 women were diagnosed with womb cancer but over 30 years later the rates have risen to more than 19 women being diagnosed in every 100,000**.
The incidence rates of womb cancer peak in women aged 60-79. And these age groups have seen the largest increases with rates nearly doubling since 1975 – rising from around 40 women in every 100,000 to over 75 in every 100,000 in 2007.
Womb cancer is the fourth most common cancer in UK women and in 2008 1,741 women died from the disease.
In the last 10 years – of the top 10 most common cancers in women – incidence rates for womb cancer have risen the second fastest, 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 and taking regular exercise.
“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.”
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*Latest figures for 2007 in the UK
**GB figures (UK figures are only available from 1993 when Northern Ireland started to collect the incidence data)