As more women smoke and drink, the cumulative effects of these unhealthy lifestyles are set to drive up cancer rates in women in the next 20 years. Experts recently warn that it might speed up to six times faster in women than in men. Lifestyle factors are the main culprits that will skyrocket cases of breast, ovarian, liver and lung cancer over the next 20 years.
The major causes highlighted are obesity, smoking and drinking. The Cancer Research UK made an analysis that estimates incidences of the disease. The report shows that cancer rates will rise 3.2 per cent for women until 2035, compared to just 0.5 per cent for men.
This is a far cry from past cancer rates when men were much more afflicted. Now, the gender gap is beginning to close. Projections show that 4.5million women are diagnosed with cancer between 2014 and 2015, compared to a 4.8 million men diagnosed with the disease.
Smoking and drinking in women are linked with the increasing risk of lung, liver and mouth cancer. But the main culprit is obesity since studies show that it is more closely linked to female cancers. There is an increased risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer among overweight women, which is thought to be due to the effect of excess fat on sex hormones such as estrogen, a cancer-growing hormone, the Daily Mail reports.
"With obesity rates increasing in recent years we are really starting to see these cancers increasing among women. Obesity is linked to breast cancer, womb cancer and ovarian cancer," leader of the study, Dr Rebecca Smittenaar says. On the other hand, cancers that only affect men are not thought to be influenced by excess body fat. Examples are prostate and testicular cancer.
Experts are now calling for women to change their lifestyles to reduce the risks, The Guardian reports. Presently, an estimated 7.4 million men and 6.7 million women are being diagnosed with cancer globally each year. Cancer rates are clearly on the rise as it is the leading cause of death with approximately 15% of all deaths.