Cancer death rates set for a 'dramatic fall'

By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News

image captionCancer treatments are one reason for the projected fall in death rates

Death rates from cancer are "set to fall dramatically" by 2030, according to Cancer Research UK.

It says fewer people smoking as well as improvements in diagnosis and treatment will lead to a 17% drop in death rate.

About 170 UK deaths per 100,000 of population were from cancer in 2010, and this figure is predicted to fall to 142 out of every 100,000.

Some of the biggest killers - lung, breast, bowel, and prostate cancer - are part of the trend.

The biggest fall is projected to be in ovarian cancer, with death rates dropping by 43%.

Prof Peter Sasieni, from Queen Mary, University of London, said: "Our latest estimations show that for many cancers, adjusting for age, death rates are set to fall dramatically in the coming decades."

As more people live to an elderly age, the total number of people who actually develop and die from cancer will increase - but these deaths will make up a smaller proportion of the total number of deaths, so the death rate will fall.


However, the death rate for other cancers such as those of the liver and mouth will increase over the next two decades.

media captionDr Kat Arney, spokesperson for Cancer research UK: "Our real problem here in the UK is not spotting cancer early enough"

The chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Dr Harpal Kumar, said: "These new figures are encouraging and highlight the huge progress we're making.

"Research across many areas is having real impact."

The Department of Health said: "These figures reflect improvements in cancer services, but we know there is still more to do.

"Our aim is to save 5,000 more lives every year by 2015 - and halve the gap in cancer survival between us and the best-performing countries in Europe."

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