LIFESTYLE

Cancer Is The Leading Cause Of Death In England And Wales, New Figures State

09/11/2015 18:44 GMT | Updated 09/11/2015 18:59 GMT

Cancer is the most common cause of death in England and Wales overall, but if you break down the statistics by gender it's a different story, according to new official figures.

Overall, 501,424 people died in 2014, a fall of 1.1% compared with 2013, new data from the Office for National Statistics for England and Wales states.

A total of 29% of all deaths in 2014 were due to cancer.

However, when data was separated by sex, the leading cause of death for men was found to be heart disease, while most women were found to die as a result of dementia.

hospital patient

A total of 51,498 deaths were caused by dementia and Alzheimer's disease in 2014, with 34,321 of these recorded among women.

While 15% of all deaths in men were a result of heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer's disease accounted for 13% of all female deaths.

The figures show that deaths from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have increased by 5% for men and by 8.7% for women in the past 10 years, but according to Alzheimer’s Research UK this is "in part as a result of changes in the way deaths from the condition are recorded".

In contrast, deaths from ischaemic heart disease – the leading cause of death for men – fell by 6.2% for men and 5.9% for women over the same period.

In a statement given to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Hilary Evans, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: "These latest figures underline a stark reality: with no treatments yet able to affect the course of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, no one currently survives a diagnosis of dementia.

"Diseases like Alzheimer’s are causing untold heartache for families across the UK, and these statistics should give us cause to redouble our efforts in the fight against them.

"Advances in medicine have helped reduce the impact of conditions like heart disease; now we must see the same to happen for dementia. Investment in research is vital if we are to find ways of treating and preventing dementia, and ultimately reduce the number of people dying from this devastating condition."

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer's Society, added: "It's saddening to see that a tenth of all recorded deaths are due to dementia and Alzheimer's disease - an increase on last year's figures.

"It is an alarming reminder of the desperate need for more investment into research to ultimately find a cure. In the short term, better quality and more accessible palliative care needs to be available to people with dementia who often have less access to this type of care than people with other conditions, like cancer.

"With 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to soar to one million by 2021, dementia is one of the biggest health and social care challenges we face today. Historically dementia was mistakenly seen by many clinicians as a natural part of ageing and, as such, they have failed to record it as a cause of death."

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