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Cancer death rates set for big fall by 2030

Cancer Research UK

The fact that fewer people are smoking is one explanation as to why more people are surviving cancer.

Cancer death rates in the UK are set to fall by almost 17% by 2030, experts predict. Better diagnosis and treatment is the main reason for the change, according to the charity Cancer Research UK. But the improved outlook is also said to reflect the fact that fewer people are smoking.

In 2010 an estimated 170 people in every 100,000 members of the general population died from cancer. Over the next 17 years this is forecast to fall to 142 per 100,000. Ovarian cancer is expected to see the biggest drop in numbers of patients dying, at 42.6%. Incidence of the disease is expected to reduce from 9.1 women per 100,000 to 5.3 per 100,000 by 2030.

Death rates for breast cancer are predicted to fall by 28%, for bowel cancer by 23% and prostate cancer by 16%. A few cancers show a reverse trend, with larger numbers of people dying. Death rates for oral cancer are likely to rise by 22%, as incidence rises from 2.9 to 3.5 per 100,000 people. For liver cancer, death rates are predicted to go up by 39%, with incidence increasing from 4.2 to 5.9 per 100,000.

Professor Peter Sasieni, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist at 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.

“And what’s really encouraging is that the biggest cancer killers, lung, breast, bowel, and prostate, are part of this falling trend.”

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “These new figures are encouraging and highlight the huge progress we’re making.

“Research across many areas is having real impact. But we know there’s still so much more to do if we are to reach a day when no one dies prematurely from cancer.”

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