The number of deaths from breast cancer has fallen by almost 40% since the early 1990s, according new data from Cancer Research UK.
The charity said there has been improved detection of breast cancer through routine screening and experts have developed more specialist care and effective treatments. The figures show:
- Breast cancer - death rate falls by 38%
- Bowel cancer - death rate falls by 34%
- Lung cancer - death rate falls by 27%
- Prostate cancer - death rate falls by 21%
Death rates for four cancers which account for half of all cancer deaths in the UK have fallen by almost a third since the early 1990s, new figures show.
Over the last two decades the combined death rates for breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer have fallen by 30%, according to data from Cancer Research UK.
Between 1991 and 1993, 146 people out of every 100,000 could have expected to die from one of these four cancers but by 2010 to 2012 these figures dipped to 102 out of every 100,000.
The cancer charity said that the figures show that research has had a "powerful impact" on the fight against the disease.
Cancer survival rates in England are "disgracefully" low, the charity behind research which revealed a postcode lottery of cancer care across the country said.
"It is a disgrace that our survival rates continue to lag behind other European countries," Juliet Bouverie, director of services and influencing at Macmillan Cancer Support, said, warning that we face falling further behind.
The charity has estimated that if the survival rates of the best-performing areas in England were matched across the country, 6,000 more cancer patients would survive.
They also found areas with the poorest survival rates are on average failing to meet at least one key NHS waiting time target for treatment.
This analysis shows an inexcusable postcode lottery which is responsible for 6,000 people dying needlessly within 12 months of being diagnosed with cancer every year,
It's a no-brainer - when patients have to wait longer for diagnosis and treatment their chances of surviving are significantly reduced.
It is also a disgrace that our survival rates continue to lag behind other European countries. Failure to act now will see us fall further behind.
All the Westminster political parties must make cancer a top health priority ahead of the general election and commit to reducing the number of people who are diagnosed late.
Macmillan Cancer Support has released figures that show four in ten cancer patients die within 12 months in the worst-performing English regions.
In Barking and Dagenham, east London, 38% of patients die within a year of diagnosis.
The same proportion of patients die in this time frame in Crawley, West Sussex, Newham, east London, Swale, Kent, Thanet, also in Kent, and the Vale Royal health area - which covers Winsford, Northwich and surrounding rural areas in Cheshire.
According to Macmillan's analysis of Office for National Statistics data, 37% of people in Medway, Kent, die within 12 months of diagnosis, 36% die within a year in Waltham Forest, north east London, and the same proportion die in this time frame in Telford and Wrekin in the West Midlands and in Luton, Bedfordshire.
Areas with the worst survival rates for cancer have been named and shamed by a charity after it said there is an "inexcusable" postcode lottery of care across England.
Macmillan Cancer Support said that there are wide regional variations in the proportion of patients who do not survive a year after diagnosis.
The debate about whether GPs should be named and shamed if they repeatedly fail to spot the signs of cancer has divided opinion.
Rachel Bown who went to her doctor three times before eventually being diagnosed with a tumor said: "If GPs continually not diagnose, it's absolutely vital that they are publicised."
However, Dr. Chaan Nagpul said he feared the plan would push doctors into indiscriminately sending people for cancer tests. He said:
"The simplest thing for GPs to do would be to refer everyone with the faintest possibility of cancer to hospital. Now that would massively clog up clinics."
A cancer patient whose GP failed to diagnose the disease three times told ITV News' she would support the naming and shaming of doctors who continually misdiagnose people.
Rachel Bown said: "I've been lucky that I was picked up on the third time when I look at a lot of my friends who have been much less lucky than I have and a lot have now died."
She added that it was absolutely vital to publicise GP's who continually misdiagnosed.
"I think anyone can make a mistake once or twice," she said, but if it was a continual thing she would "definitely support" naming doctors.
She added that patients need to be clearer about their symptoms. GP's have to be a lot more probing and the government needed to provide more funding.
Naming and shaming doctors for missing cancer symptoms is "not going to make any real difference," one GP told ITV News.
Dr. Chaan Nagpul said: "We mustn't get into the situation where we are blaming doctors for presentations that are difficult to diagnose."
He added: "If cancer was a simple condition to diagnose at an early stage it wouldn't be a killer disease. It's a killer disease because it does actually deceive the patient and deceive the doctor."
Were doctors names and would be worried that the system would quickly become clogged up as doctors began referring everyone who had the faintest possibility of cancer to hospital, he said.
He added: "It may reduce access for those patients to specialists to those patients who do have cancer."
The Government's plan of "naming and shaming" doctors who repeatedly fail to spot signs of cancer is "a desperate idea", Labour's shadow health minister said.
This is a desperate idea from a Government that won't take responsibility for the problems it has created in the NHS.
David Cameron wasted billions on a re-organisation nobody wanted and left cancer patients waiting longer for tests and treatment. He should be ashamed of his own record - not attacking doctors.
This Government has thrown away progress made on cancer care. It is proof of why the Tories can't be trusted with the NHS.
GPs who repeatedly fail to spot cancer signs in their patients will be named and shamed on an NHS website.
Doctors will be marked with a red flag if they are deemed to be missing too many cases or patients have to make repeated visits before being sent for tests, according to the Mail on Sunday.
Luke O’Reilly, whose mother Diane Howell had to see a GP 15 times before being referred for tests, told the paper: "Rating family doctors on cancer is essential. My mum was made to feel she was wasting the doctors’ time when she was actually very ill."
Britain has worse cancer survival rates than other European countries, mainly due to late diagnosis.
"We know that 40 per cent of patients with pancreatic cancer have visit their GP four times or more before being referred. A tenth have to see them ten times or more," Ali Stunt, founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action, told the paper.