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Cancer death rate falls nationally over last decade

ยท Regional figures show rises in some areas

20 November 2014

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures
*Regional figures and map available

The death rate for people under 75 from cancer3 has fallen steadily over the past decade, according to figures published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

The new statistics show that across England cancer has remained the top cause of death among under-75s over the past decade, but that the cancer death rate in this age group fell by 14.7 per cent between 2003 and 2013. For every 100,000 people in England aged 74 and younger, 142 died from cancer in 2013 compared to 166 in 20034.

Today's report also includes regional analysis which shows that the fall observed nationally has not been reflected across the country5. Out of the 326 local authority areas used in the report, the death rate from cancer among under-75s fell in 298 areas and rose in 246.

Looking at the local authority areas, the largest fall in the death rate over the decade was 39.1 per cent (from 156.9 to 95.6 per 100,000 residents), which was recorded in Spelthorne in the South West region. The largest increase was 29.5 per cent (from 149.3 to 193.3 per 100,000 residents), which was observed in Copeland in the North West of England.

For both men and women the first and second common forms of cancer leading to death were cancers of the digestive organs and cancers of the respiratory and intrathoracic organs7.For men the third most common form was cancers of the genital organs and for women it was breast cancer.

The NHS Outcomes Framework report also shows:

For men under 75:

  • 10,948 men under 75 died from cancers of the digestive organs in 2013, an increase of 3.0 per cent from the 10,630 deaths in 2003
  • 8,677 men under 75 died from cancers of respiratory and intrathoracic organs in 2013, a 7.0 per cent fall from 9,330 deaths in 2003
  • 2,381 men died from cancers of the genital organs in 2013, a 9.7 per cent fall from 2,636 in 2003

For women under 75:

  • 6,451 women under 75 died from cancers of the digestive organs in 2013, a 10.2 per cent rise from 5,856 in 2003
  • 6,497 women under 75 died from cancers of respiratory and intrathoracic organs in 2013, an increase of 15.7 per cent on 5,617 in 2003
  • 5,810 women under 75 died from breast cancer in 2013, a 13.3 per cent fall from 5,037 in 2003

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: "As the report shows, cancer kills more people under 75 than any other cause and so most of us will have been touched in some way by this. So many people will take a keen interest in these statistics and the story they tell about the overall drop across the country and the different pictures in local areas."

pdf icon Map showing percentage change in cancer death rate in local authority areas across England between 2003 and 2013 [82kb]

View the full report at:


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Numbers in this release over 100 have been rounded to the nearest whole figure.

3. ICD-10 codes used for cancer in this report: C00-C97 (all cancers), C15-C26 (malignant neoplasms of digestive organs), C30-C39 (Malignant neoplasms of respiratory and intrathoracic organs), C50 (malignant neoplasm of breast), C60-C63 (malignant neoplasms of male genital organs).

4. In total there were 63,458 deaths from cancer in England among under-75s in 2003 and 62,132 in 2013.

5. Regional maps are available to show the cancer mortality rates in 2013 and the increase/decrease in cancer mortality rates between 2003 and 2013.

6. The report breaks down mortality statistics by 326 lower tier and single tier authority areas. Among the 326 areas, the numbers are not published for four because these have populations so small that there is judged a risk of identification of individuals. These four areas are the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, City of London and Hackney. In future publications, combined indicator values for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly and Hackney and City of London will be calculated, which is in line with Office for National Statistics publications.

7. Malignant cancers of respiratory and intrathoracic organs include the following: nasal cavity, middle ear, accessory sinuses, larynx, trachea, bronchus, lung, thymus, heart, mediastinum, pleura and other ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs (i.e. overlapping lesions).

8. The indicators form part of the NHS Outcomes Framework and have been designed to provide national-level accountability for the outcomes the NHS delivers, and to drive transparency, quality improvement and outcome measurement throughout the NHS.

9. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 30 33 888.

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