Cancer death rates set to drop 17 per cent by 2030

Cancer Research UK

The rates of people dying from cancer are predicted to fall by 17 per cent (16.8) in the UK by 2030 according to new statistics released today by Cancer Research UK (Tuesday).

For all cancers, adjusting for age, 170 people in every 100,000 died from the disease in 2010 but by 2030 it is predicted this will fall to 142 in every 100,000.  This is largely due to better survival rates, thanks to earlier diagnosis and improved treatments, but also reflects a reduction in smoking-related cancers leading to fewer deaths.

The new figures are released in the run-up to Stand Up To Cancer - an unprecedented partnership between Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 - which will culminate in a television fundraising entertainment extravaganza live on TV on Friday October 19th.

Ovarian cancer will see the biggest fall in people dying, with death rates expected to reduce by over 40 per cent (42.6) – dropping from 9.1 women per 100,000 to 5.3 by 2030.

The figures also show that breast cancer in women, bowel and prostate cancer will have huge reductions in the number of people in every 100,000 dying – falling by 28 per cent for female breast cancer, 23 per cent for bowel cancer and 16 per cent for prostate cancer.  

But there are some cancers where the death rates are set to increase – 22 per cent for oral cancer* from 2.9 to 3.5 per 100,000 people and 39 per cent for liver cancer, 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.

“Because old age is the biggest risk factor for cancer and more people are living longer, they have a greater chance of developing and, unfortunately, dying from the disease. But, overall, the proportion - or rate - of those who die from cancer is falling.”

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. We continue to rely on the public’s generosity to drive progress. This helps us turn discoveries made in our science labs into new treatments and to carry out clinical trials to find the best ways to treat patients.

“There are more exciting opportunities now to make a step-change than at any other time in history and we must grasp these. But to do so will require more investment and that’s why we’re asking people to help us through Stand Up To Cancer. It’s about working together to improve the odds of surviving cancer.  We want to bring forward the day when no-one loses their life prematurely to this devastating disease.”

ENDS

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Notes to Editor

*This includes lip, mouth and pharynx cancers.

Data provided on request by the Wolfson Institute based on methodology set out in Mistry M, Parkin D, Ahmad A, Sasieni P. Cancer incidence in the UK: Projections to the year 2030 British Journal of Cancer Vol 105 page 1795–1803