Cancer death rates in the UK have fallen by almost 10 per cent in a decade, but those fuelled by alcohol and unhealthy lifestyles are rising sharply, new figures show.
A report by Cancer Research UK shows that overall death rates have fallen steadily, thanks to improvements in diagnosis and treatment.
In total, 284 people in a population of 100,000 died from the disease in 2013 – down from 312 in every 100,000 a decade earlier.
But the figures show a rise in specific cancers which can be fuelled by alcohol, smoking and poor diet, with a 60 per cent rise in deaths from liver cancer, and an eight per cent rise in those from pancreatic cancer.
In total, around one in three cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to unhealthy lifestyles, experts have said.
The figures, released to mark World Cancer Day, show that overall, men have seen a 12 per cent fall in death rates, while for women the fall was about eight per cent.
Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “Today, one in two of all people diagnosed with cancer survive their disease for at least 10 years. Our ambition is to accelerate progress so that three in four survive cancer by 2034.”
Four cancers – lung, bowel, breast and prostate – account for almost half of all deaths from the disease in the UK.
The four saw an 11 per cent drop in death rates over the decade.
The figures show around 4,800 liver cancer deaths in 2013, compared with 2,600 a decade before. There were also around 8,500 pancreatic cancer deaths – a rise from about 7,000 in 2003.
Earlier this week Britain’s most senior doctor sparked controversy in urging other women to “do as I do” and think about the risks of cancer before deciding whether or not to have a drink.
Amid a rising and ageing population, the number of people diagnosed with cancer and the total number of deaths from the disease has increased.
Around 80 per cent of cancer deaths occur in people aged 65 and over, and more than half occur in those aged 75 and older.
Public health minister Jane Ellison said: “Prevention is key. It’s good to see growing awareness in some age groups of the benefits of being a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and limiting how much alcohol we drink – and it’s never too late to kick start a healthier lifestyle.”
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