Cancer is the biggest premature killer

Cancer is responsible for killing 40 per cent of all the men and women who die prematurely between the ages of 25 and 74 in the UK – according to a new analysis of the figures released today by Cancer Research UK.

This means cancer causes more untimely deaths than any other disease including coronary heart disease, stroke and AIDS as well as traffic accidents, suicide and murder.

But there is good news too. Despite the rise in the number of people developing cancer, death rates from the disease have fallen dramatically over the last forty years. And there are more people surviving cancer than ever before thanks to new research finding better treatments.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

And, the better we get at spotting the early signs of cancer, the easier the disease is to treat meaning, the numbers that survive cancer are going to keep on rising.

Across all age groups (1-85+) cancer kills around 73,000 more people each year than coronary heart disease and around 78,000 more than the respiratory diseases. These three diseases are the main causes of death in the UK.

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer, causing around 35,000 deaths a year followed by bowel cancer (around 16,000) and then breast cancer (around 11,700).

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: “We have had great success in reducing the death rate from many types of cancer in the last decade. But far too many people are still dying from this devastating disease and we clearly have much more work to do.”

Pancreatic and lung cancer have the lowest five year survival rates – with only around 4 per cent of people surviving pancreatic cancer for more than 5 years and around 7 per cent surviving lung cancer for at least five years.

Dr. Julie Sharp, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Cancer is the disease that kills more people than any other major illness. Even though we have made tremendous progress in improving the chance of surviving the disease in the last 40 years – these figures serve as a reminder of the huge amount of work still left to do.

“We must redouble our efforts to ensure that our research continues to find new ways to improve and refine diagnosis and treatment so that cancer becomes a disease people live with rather than die from, irrespective of the type of cancer or their age.

“It is entirely due to the amazing generosity of the public that we are able to support the work of more than 4,000 dedicated doctors, nurses and scientists who continue to unlock the secrets of a that affects us all. As more and more get and the economy tightens, we need the public’s support now more than ever.”

Related Stories

People fear cancer more than other serious illness

date Aug 16, 2011

More than a third of people in the UK fear cancer more than other life-threatening conditions – such as Alzheimer’s, stroke and heart disease according to a Cancer Research UK survey.

Bowel cancer risk doubles for men

date Jul 27, 2011

Men’s chances of getting bowel cancer in Great Britain have doubled since the mid 70s - according to new figures released today by Cancer Research UK.

Poor public awareness of bowel cancer

date Aug 23, 2011

Britons have very low awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer – the third most common cancer in the UK and second largest cause of cancer deaths each year, new research shows.

Beta Blockers could stop breast cancer spreading

date Sep 30, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Cancer Research UK scientists are investigating whether beta-blockers hold the key to preventing breast cancer spread and improving survival. Promising early results will be presented on the eve of breast ...

Poor people more likely to view cancer as fatal

date Oct 10, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- People in lower paid jobs are pessimistic about the benefits of diagnosing cancer early and more scared than affluent people to see a doctor about an unusual symptom, new research shows.

Recommended for you

Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

date Jul 03, 2015

It has been treasured by food lovers for thousands of years for its rich golden colour, peppery flavour and mustardy aroma…and now turmeric may also have a role in fighting cancer.

Cancer survivors who smoke perceive less risk from tobacco

date Jul 02, 2015

Cancer survivors who smoke report fewer negative opinions about smoking, have more barriers to quitting, and are around other smokers more often than survivors who had quit before or after their diagnosis, according to a ...

Melanoma mutation rewires cell metabolism

date Jul 02, 2015

A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nov 04, 2011
In other parts of the world, it's bullets.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.