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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Common cancer deaths 'fall'

10th July 2009

Deaths from the most common forms of cancer are at their lowest level since the early 1970s.


Figures compiled by the charity Cancer Research UK have revealed that deaths from the three most common forms – breast, bowel and male lung cancer – are at their lowest levels since 1971.

Improved screening, better care and a fall in the number of people smoking are highlighted as key factors in the drop by experts.

Chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar, said: "Years of research are behind the dramatic progress being made in the fight against Britain's common cancers. Survival rates have doubled in the last 30 years."

Figures for breast cancer show deaths in 2007 were 11,990 compared to a peak of 15,625 in 1989 – a fall of 36% - while bowel cancer deaths fell by 31% from a high of 19,598 in 1992 to 16,007 in 2007.

The number of men dying from lung cancer fell by 53%, from 30,391 in 1979 to 19,637 in 2007.

National Cancer Director Professor Mike Richards said: "We welcome this news that demonstrates the excellent progress the NHS is making in improving survival for people with cancer.

"We have made major progress on cancer over the past decade but we are not complacent. We invested £4.35 billion in cancer services in 2006/07, over 5% of all NHS spending.”

The government introduced the Cancer Reform Strategy in December 2007, which includes measures to improve cancer prevention and speed up the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.


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