Content last reviewed: 6 October 2015

Cancer is the largest cause of premature death (below the age of 75 years) (1)  in England and the second biggest cause of mortality for all ages after cardiovascular disease.  Overall, more than one in four people die from cancer and about 40% die when aged less than 65 years.  More than one in two people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. (2)

The major factor that increases an individual’s risk of cancer is increasing age so this chapter is relevant to adult care.  However, much cancer is preventable and the main modifiable risk factors are using tobacco, being overweight, eating unhealthy diets and drinking excessive alcohol. (3)

The Department of Health has published ‘Living Well for Longer’, 2013, which is about reducing avoidable, premature mortality caused by the big killer diseases, among which is cancer.  Premature mortality is death aged less than 75 years and it is hoped that England’s premature mortality will become the lowest amongst our European peers.  It has been shown that we have a long way to go.  The Longer Lives report compares overall and specific disease premature mortality from similarly deprived local authorities and shows that Central Bedfordshire is worst out of 15 similar local authorities caused by cancer in 2011-13; it was 44th out of 150 overall.

Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016