Deaths from lung cancer among women in Northern Ireland have risen by 75 per cent over the past 15 years, according to researchers at Queen's University, Belfast.
Their report, showing that cancer causes 23 per cent of all deaths in Northern Ireland, is the first publication of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, set up last year in the university's department of epidemiology and public health.
Anna Gavin, registry director, who compiled the report with Dermot O'Reilly, deputy director of the university's health and health care research unit, said there was no doubt cancer in Northern Ireland was still on the rise.
"This is partly due to the increasing proportion of older people and to better methods of diagnosis," she said.
"Tobacco-related cancers contribute to this increase and represent cancer deaths which are preventable. This report should contribute towards improved understanding and public awareness of cancer and its prevention, which are vital factors in the fight against this disease."
Younger women accounted for much of the rise in female lung cancer deaths while the rate among younger men has levelled off and is starting to fall. But the figures are still rising in older men and women.
Male cancer deaths have increased by 20 per cent cent and the number of female cancer deaths by 21 per cent over the past 15 years. Death rates from the asbestos-related cancer of the pleura are ten times more common in men than women, with Northern Ireland levels among the highest in Europe, two to three times that of England and Wales, and 20 times that of the rest of Ireland.