Cancer Rate Increase Confirmed As UK Population Ages

By Live Dr - Sat Jun 11, 1:49 pm

The incidence of cancer in the UK continues to rise as the population ages, but death rates are falling with improved diagnosis and treatment, official figures show.

Statistics on newly diagnosed cases and mortality published by the Office for National Statistics (pdf) on Thursday reveal about 153,800 males and 152,300 females were told they had cancer each year from 2006-08. That is a rate of 421 per 100,000 and 365 per 100,000 respectively; the rate from 2005-7 was 415 and 359.

The latest mortality figures – 81,000 men (212 men per 100,000) and 74,000 women (153 women per 100,000) each year – represented slight drops on the previous rates of 214 and 154. Breast cancer has the highest incidence for women (123 cases per 100,000) and prostate cancer for men (100 per 100,000).

Wales had the highest average annual cancer incidence rate for men (467 per 100,000) and Scotland for women (398 per 100,000) – although more than 80% of all diagnoses and deaths are in England. Concerns remain across the UK about cancer mortality rates compared with those in other countries, and a study on Wednesday warned that older people still faced “age-bias” in treatment for cancer.

The Department of Health in England is launching pilot schemes to try to improve access to cancer services, and Mike Richards, its cancer director, has said that he expects the incidence of smoking-related cancers to tumble now the UK’s “tobacco epidemic” is past. Further changes in lifestyle, including lower alcohol consumption and more exercise, are also needed to reduce risks of other cancers.


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