50% rise in male food pipe cancer
Rates of food pipe cancer in men spiked by 50% over the last 25 years, figures reveal.
Cancer Research UK said the annual number of men diagnosed with oesophageal (food pipe) cancer rose from 2,600 in 1983 to 5,100 in the last year for which data was available.
The charity said poor diet and higher levels of obesity could be behind the increase.
Food pipe cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the UK. In 2007, around 8,000 people were diagnosed with the disease.
It is seen as one of the trickier cancers to detect and treat, with only 8% of sufferers living for more than five years.
In 1983 rates of food pipe cancer in men stood at 9.6 in every 100,000. This has now jumped by 50% to 14.4 per 100,000 men.
The most dramatic rise was seen in men in their 50s. Over the last quarter century, rates increased by 67% for the age and sex group.
Rates in woman also rose, but by a slower rate, figures show.
Professor Janusz Jankowski, cancer specialist at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: "We don't know exactly why we're seeing this steep rise in oesophageal cancer rates, and why it's having such a dramatic effect on men.
"But we think the obesity epidemic may be a big reason behind the increase."