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Cancer trends in England and Wales

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 01 April 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:884

Good data and analysis are vital to improving survival

  1. Heather O Dickinson, senior research associate (
  1. North of England Children's Cancer Unit, Department of Child Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP

    Papers p 895

    Cancer is among the three leading causes of death in England and Wales at all ages except for preschool children.1 Survival from almost all cancers is better in affluent areas than in deprived ones, for a variety of reasons.2 In July 1999 the government set a “tough” target: “to reduce the death rate from cancer in people under 75 years by at least a fifth (20%) by 2010 [compared with 1997]—saving up to 100 000 lives.”3 Unfortunately the basis of the target has not yet been published. During 1985-98 the death rate from cancer fell by 16% in people under 75.1 Although there is no reason to assume a similar trend will apply to the comparable period 1997-2010 without assessing the effects of the ageing population, the increasing risk of cancer with age, and the changing risk in different periods, this trend suggests that the government is off to a flying start and its target …

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