In The News

Cancer remains the number one killer

Cancer remains the number one killer

CANCER remains the number one cause of death in Northern Ireland.

Figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency reveal there were 4,134 deaths from cancer in 2012 — the largest number of deaths caused by the disease on record.

Cancer caused 28% of all deaths recorded last year. There was a slight rise in the total number of deaths compared to 2011. However, the figures for 2011 had been the lowest on record.

The total number of deaths last year was 14,756 — 552 more than the previous year.

After cancer, that main killers are diseases of the circulatory system (4,001) and diseases of the respiratory system (2,023).

More women died in 2012 compared to men with 7,662 female deaths compared with 7,094 males.

However, the figures show that, on average, people are living longer in Northern Ireland. The average age at death last year was 76.4 years, this has increased over the past 30 years when the average age at death in 1982 was 70.1 years.

Many people are living to well beyond their mid-70s. One hundred of the deaths last year were of centenarians, with the oldest man to die being 104 and the oldest woman being 106.

Drugs were blamed for the deaths of 110 people — 76 men and 34. Other deaths were: 106 stillbirths, 90 infant deaths.

The figures for 2012 also reveal that almost half of deaths took place in hospitals. Of the remaining, 27% of people passed away in their homes, 18% died in nursing homes and 6% died elsewhere.

The statisticians point to the fact that the number of deaths in Northern Ireland has fallen significantly over the last century - from a high of 20,000 per annum during the 1920s, down to the lowest figure of 14,204 which was recorded in 2011.

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