Together we will beat cancer


Today our stats team has published new data, forecasting that the proportion of people who die from cancer will continue to fall over the next 18 years.

Rather than penning another 1,000 word treatise on the matter, we thought we’d try something a bit different: presenting the results as an animated video:

(Here’s a transcript for anyone who can’t watch the video – there are some graphs further down the page too).

Our stats team first looked at different cancer types. As you can see, the stats show particularly noteworthy drops in the proportion of people dying from ovarian, bowel, breast and prostate cancers:

Graphic - Mortality rate drop by 2030 for four cancer types We think the main reasons for these projected falls are:

All of this adds up to an overall drop from 170 out of every 100,000 people, to 142 per 100,000. That’s a 17 per cent drop.

Graphic - Mortality rates continue to fall

These figures have been adjusted to take account of the UK’s ageing population (which, paradoxically, will actually lead to an overall increase in the absolute number of cases).

The new stats are good news, and show that the progress over past decades is set to continue in the future. And this is all thanks to research – research on how cancer develops, research on treatments, research on screening and diagnosis and research on understanding tobacco. And our research is only possible thanks to the support of the public.

So we’d like to say a big thanks to all our supporters, for helping improve things for so many people.


  • Are our graphics helpful? We’d love to know what you think? – please leave your comment below


Henry Scowcroft September 26, 2012

Good question!

Falling smoking rates won’t just affect lung cancer rates – at least 14 types of cancer are linked to smoking. But alongside trying to bring smoking rates down, one of the most important prevention policies in recent years has been the cervical screening and HPV vaccination programmes – the former has helped avoid an epidemic of cervical cancer, whereas the latter should help further reduce cervical cancer rates in the future.

And we should also mention the drop in stomach cancer rates over the last 40 years as infection with the H. pylori bacterium has become less common (probably because of better food hygiene and living standards).

Hope that clears things up,

Cancer Research UK

Dr Mills September 25, 2012

It’s fantastic that cancer can now often be considered a treatable disease and that so many lives can be saved.

One question though – on Radio 4’s Today programme a CRUK spokesman stated that prevention was helping to reduce the number of people dying of cancer. Excluding lung cancer, what reduction in cancer incidence rates has been due to prevention?