Cancer death rates fall by nearly 10% thanks to earlier diagnosis, better treatment and decline in smoking
Around 320,000 people Britons are diagnosed each yearAround half die, but patients are six times more likely to survive than 40 years ago
03:14 GMT, 7 December 2012
The death toll from cancer has fallen over the past decade, official figures showed yesterday.
Earlier diagnosis and better treatment have seen the rate drop by an average of 9.5 per cent since 2001.
A decline in smoking was also cited as a factor because tobacco causes cancer of the lung as well as other forms of the disease including breast, bowel, liver, throat and mouth. The chance of dying from cancer is still greater however in Britain than in some other European countries.
A recent report has shown that the number of women dying from ovarian cancer – one of the most aggressive types – had fallen by a quarter in a decade
Among women the death rates are the third highest in Northern Europe and worse than in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The 2011 figures from the Office for National Statistics show that death rates for men have fallen by 10.9 per cent since 2001. On average, 204 die from cancer per 100,000 of the male population each year. In 2001 the toll was 229.
In women the rates have fallen by 7.5 per cent, from 161 to 149 deaths per 100,000 each year. The average decline for both sexes was 9.5 per cent.
‘The good news is that as individuals our risk of dying from the disease has fallen,’ said Catherine Thomson, head of statistics at Cancer Research UK.
‘The reduction in people smoking has helped hugely for many cancers, and we’re better at diagnosing some cancers earlier. We’re also better at treating many cancers, with surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, as well as developing more tailored personalised medicine.’
Countries with the worst cancer survival rates in Northern Europe
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘It is encouraging to see figures moving in the right direction with overall deaths falling, but there is more we can do to make sure that our cancer services are world class and that NHS patients receive the best treatment available.’
Of the ten countries included in Northern Europe, only Denmark and Ireland recorded higher figures for cancer death rates in women. Death rates for men were fifth out of the ten states across Northern Europe.
Around 320,500 Britons are diagnosed with cancer a year and 157,000 patients die.
MOST COMMON CANCERS
Latest annual figures (2009) from Cancer Research UK
Last month a report showed that the
number of women dying from ovarian cancer – one of the most aggressive
types – had fallen by a quarter in a decade.
Death rates have always been higher in men than women and researchers believe this may be because they have poorer lifestyles.
2009, figures from Cancer Research UK showed that men were 60 per cent
more likely to get cancer and 70 per cent more likely to die from it.
Experts from the charity said that there was no obvious reason except that men tended to be less ‘health conscious’.
They also said it may be that men had a ‘stiff upper lip’ and were more reluctant to see their GP if unwell.