Cancer is the biggest premature killer

November 3, 2011

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.

The video will load shortly

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.”

Explore further: People fear cancer more than other serious illness

Related Stories

People fear cancer more than other serious illness

August 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

July 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

August 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

September 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

October 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.

Heart disease beats breast cancer as the biggest killer

June 19, 2011
Breast cancer accounts for almost a third of all cancer cases reported in women. However advances in the treatment for breast cancer, and early detection, have improved the chances of survival from the disease. New research ...

Recommended for you

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet 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.