Over the last forty years, there has been a drop of over 40% in cancer deaths in people aged between 50 and 59, to fewer than 14,000 in 2010. It’s thought that this is thanks to the fact that fewer people are smoking today than they were in the 1970s.
Smoking remains the largest cause of cancer in the UK, while other factors include obesity, poor diets and the amount of alcohol consumed.
In women, the death rates have seen the biggest drops in cervical, stomach, bowel cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For men, meanwhile, rates have dropped most for testicular, lung and stomach cancers.
According to Prof Peter Johnson of Cancer Research UK, "This is really encouraging news and it highlights the huge progress we have made. The reduction in people smoking has been a big help, and we are also better at diagnosing cancers early and better at treating them whether by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy."
He added however that more still needs to be done to decrease death rates overall. Experts say that, still, over half of deaths caused by cancer could have been prevented with the correct lifestyle choices.