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Cancer death rates set to drop 17 per cent by 2030

The rates of people dying from cancer are predicted to fall by 17 per cent (16.8) in the UK by 2030 according to Professor Peter Sasieni, from Queen Mary, University of London.

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Professor Peter Sasieni
Professor Peter Sasieni

The figures, released today by Cancer Research UK, show that for all cancers, 170 people in every 100,000 died from the disease in 2010. By 2030 it is predicted this will fall to 142 in every 100,000*. This is largely due to better survival rates, thanks to earlier diagnosis and improved treatments, but also reflects a reduction in smoking-related cancers, leading to fewer deaths.

Professor Peter Sasieni, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “Our latest estimations show that for many cancers, adjusting for age, death rates are set to fall dramatically in the coming decades. What’s really encouraging is that the biggest cancer killers – lung, breast, bowel, and prostate – are part of this falling trend.

“Because old age is the biggest risk factor for cancer and more people are living longer, they have a greater chance of developing and, unfortunately, dying from the disease. But, the cancer death rate – or chance of dying from cancer at a particular age - is falling.”

Ovarian cancer will see the biggest fall in people dying, with death rates expected to reduce by over 40 per cent – dropping from 9.1 women per 100,000 to 5.3 by 2030.

The figures also show the number of people in every 100,000 dying from bowel and prostate cancer and breast cancer in women will hugely reduce– falling by 28 per cent for female breast cancer, 23 per cent for bowel cancer and 16 per cent for prostate cancer.  

But there are some cancers where the death rates are set to increase – 22 per cent for oral cancer (including lip, mouth and pharynx cancers) from 2.9 to 3.5 per 100,000 people and 39 per cent for liver cancer, from 4.2 to 5.9 per 100,000. 


*These numbers are “age-standardised” which means that they are based on 100,000 people with the same age-distribution even though the proportion predicted to be aged over 80 will increase substantially by 2030.

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