Cancer death rate falls

Cancer death rates have fallen by almost 10 per cent over 10 years in the UK, according to new figures from Cancer Research UK – but the number of deaths continues to rise.

In 2013, 284 in 100,000 people in the UK died from cancer compared to 312 in 100,000 during 2003. However, four-fifths of cancer deaths occur in people aged 65 and over, and more than half occur in those aged 75 years and older.

“It is important to remember that even though the death rates are falling, the overall number of people dying from cancer is expected to increase,” commented Sir Harpal Kumar, chief executive, Cancer Research UK. “This is because the population is growing and more of us are living longer. Too many people are still being diagnosed with and dying from cancer, not just here in the UK but around the world.”

Cancer death rates among men fell by 12 per cent from 397 for every 100,000 in 2003 to 349 per 100,000 in 2013. Among women the fall was 8 per cent from 259 to 240 per 100,000. The death rate from lung, bowel, breast and prostate malignancies – responsible for 46 per cent of cancer deaths in the UK – fell by about 11 per cent from 146 to 131 per 100,000.

It is not all good news. The mortality rate for liver cancer increased by 60 per cent over the past 10 years from 5 per 100,000 in 2001-2003 to 8 per 100,000 in 2011-2013. The mortality rate for pancreatic cancer increased by 8 per cent from 14 to 15 per 100,000.

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