Cancer death rates drop by a fifth over 20 years

Death rates from cancer dropped by more than fifth between 1990 and 2011, new figures from Cancer Research suggest.

Research is producing 'effective cancer treatments'

By highlighting the drop in cancer mortality rates over two decades, Cancer Research UK is hoping to demonstrate the importance of research in helping to beat the disease.

Today cancer is not the death sentence people once believed it to be.

As these new figures show, mortality rates from this much-feared disease are dropping significantly as the fruits of research are producing more effective treatments with fewer side-effects.

But while we're heading in the right direction, too many lives are still being lost to the disease, highlighting how much more work there is to do.

Our aim is that, one day, everyone will beat cancer and the more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.

– Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK chief executive

A one-off bowel-scope test, now being introduced, could further cut the number of deaths from the disease by 43% and new cases of bowel cancer by a third, the charity said its own study on bowel cancer screening has shown.

Fewer people are dying of cancer, charity says

The number of people dying from cancer dropped 22 per cent between 1990 and 2011, new figures from Cancer Research UK show.

Death rates from cancer have dropped by more than fifth since 1990, new figures suggest. Credit: PA

In 1990, 220 in every 100,000 people died of cancer, with this figure falling to 170 per 100,000 in 2011.

For women alone, death rates dropped by 20% over the 21 years, from 185 to 147 per 100,000. Among men, the fall was even greater at 26%, from 277 down to 203 per 100,000.

The falling death rate comes despite more people being diagnosed with cancer, largely due to the fact that people are living longer and the disease is more common among older age groups.

Improvements have been made over the last two decades in preventing the disease as well as having better surgical techniques, radiotherapy that can more effectively target tumours and an improved class of cancer drugs, the charity said.