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Cancer number one cause of death in England and Wales

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by Cancer Research UK | News

14 July 2016

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Cancer is the most common cause of death in England and Wales, according to the latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics

“These figures are a powerful reminder of the scale of death caused by cancer in England and Wales.” – Emma Greenwood, Cancer Research UK

The disease accounted for over a quarter (28%) of all registered deaths in 2015 followed closely by circulatory diseases such as heart diseases and stroke (26%).

In total there were 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2015, an increase of 5.6% compared with 2014

Emma Greenwood, Cancer Research UK’s head of policy, said: “These figures are a powerful reminder of the scale of death caused by cancer in England and Wales.” 

While cancer mortality has been on the decline since the 1990’s “far too many people still die from the disease and this report shows that we’ve still got a lot more to do to save lives,” added Greenwood. 

The ONS release provides summary statistics on deaths registered in the year. 

According to the report, the number of deaths in the UK increased by 5.7% from 2014 to 602,782 deaths in 2015.

In both Scotland and Northern Ireland, provisional figures suggest the number of deaths in 2015 increased by 6.2% and 5.9% respectively. 

Although this increase in deaths is expected as people are tending to live longer, leading to the population increasing in both size and age over time.

But despite the overall increase in mortality Greenwood pointed out that there has been “great progress” in cancer survival, which has doubled in the past 40 years and better patient outcomes should be a key focus for the health service.

She added: “Last year a new cancer strategy was published for England and a new cancer plan is being developed for Wales. Improving outcomes for patients so they match the best in the world must be a priority for governments and the NHS. Earlier diagnosis, access to the right treatment at the right time, and preventing the disease through lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking all play a vital role in beating cancer.”

  • Office of National Statistics (2016) “Deaths registered in England and Wales: 2015”