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Cancer death rate at 40-year low

Figures have revealed the death rates for three of the most common cancers have dropped to the lowest levels for almost 40 years.

The rate at which people are dying from breast, bowel and male lung cancer is the lowest since 1971, according to Cancer Research UK.

In 1989, the breast cancer death rate peaked at 15,625, before falling 36% to 11,990 in 2007.

Meanwhile, bowel cancer deaths for both sexes hit a peak of 19,598 in 1992, then dropped to 16,007 - a fall of 31%.

Finally, the number of men dying from lung cancer reached 30,391 in 1979, but dropped 53% to stand at 19,637 in 2007.

Despite an overall increase in the amount of people developing cancer due to people living longer, improved screening and better treatments mean fewer people are dying from the disease.

Increasing numbers of people giving up smoking mean deaths from lung cancer have also dropped.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK said: "Years of research are behind the dramatic progress being made in the fight against Britain's common cancers.

"Survival rates have doubled in the last 30 years and the work of Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of that progress."

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Cancer Research UK