Cancer has overtaken heart disease as the biggest cause of death in England and Wales, according to mortality statistics for 2011, and costs the UK £15bn a year.
Cancer costs the UK over £15bn a year
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that almost a third of people now die from some form of cancer.
In 2011, cancer was recorded as the underlying cause of death in 143,181 people- 29.6 per cent of the total deaths in England and Wales. In comparison, cardiovascular disease was recorded as the underlying cause in 139,706 people, or 28.8 per cent of deaths.
This is a turnaround from 2010, when 32.0 per cent died of cardiovascular disease and 28.7 per cent died of cancer.
Experts say that the switch is primarily due to the drop in deaths from heart disease and stroke, rather than a rise in cancer. However, Ministers admit British survival rates are not as good as the best-performing European countries.
At the same time, a study by Oxford University researchers has shown that the health and economic cost of cancer tops £15bn a year in the UK.
Lung cancer was found to be the most expensive form of the disease, costing £2.4bn a year. Bowel cancer was the second most expensive at £1.6bn, followed by breast cancer at £1.5bn. Prostate cancer costs the UK £800m a year.
The study is being presented to the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool today. Lead researcher Dr Jose Leal said: "Our research shows that cancer impacts on the economy as a whole - and not just the health service.
"Premature deaths, time off work and unpaid care by friends and family account for 64% of all cancer costs."
"Cancers with the highest economic cost could offer the highest expected returns from investment in research."
For the best cancer treatment the UK has to offer, compare medical insurance policies with full cancer cover.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012