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Cancer death rates fall by almost 10% in 10 years

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Cancer death rates in the UK have fallen by nearly 10% over 10 years, according to the latest analysis released on World Cancer Day by a leading charity.

In 2013, 284 out of every 100,000 people in the UK died from cancer – around 162,000 people. A decade ago this was 312 in every 100,000.

“Today, one in two of all people diagnosed with cancer survive their disease for at least 10 years”

Harpal Kumar

The fall in rate is largely due to improvements in detection, diagnosis and treatments, said Cancer Research UK, which released the figures.

Further “encouraging news” is the narrowing of the gap between men and women’s cancer death rates, it said.

Men’s death rates have fallen by 12% from 397 for every 100,000 in 2003 to 349 per 100,000 in 2013. This compares to an 8% drop in women – falling from 259 per 100,000 women in 2003 to 240 in 2013.

This equates to around 85,000 men and 77,000 women dying from cancer each year in the UK, according to the charity.

Four cancer types – lung, bowel, breast and prostate – cause 46% of all cancer deaths in the UK.

The combined death rate for these four cancers mirrors the overall fall, dropping by around 11% over the last 10 years, from 146 people per 100,000 in 2003 to 131 people per 100,000 in 2013.

Harpal Kumar

Harpal Kumar

Harpal Kumar

However, for some cancers, such as liver and pancreatic, the rates of people dying from the disease have increased over the last decade.

As the population is growing and more people are living longer – and cancer is primarily a disease of old age – the total number of cancer deaths has increased, noted the charity.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “Today, one in two of all people diagnosed with cancer survive their disease for at least 10 years.

“Today on World Cancer Day it’s important to remember that even though the death rates are falling, the overall number of people dying from cancer is expected to increase,” he said. “This is because the population is growing and more of us are living longer.”

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