In The News

Cancer remains top cause of death

Cancer remains top cause of death

CANCER remains as the top cause of death in Northern Ireland.

Figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency show that 14,968 deaths were recorded during 2013 — 212 more than during the previous year.

Cancer was listed as causing the deaths of 4,230 people — the highest number on record. This was a 2% increase on 2012 when there were 4,134 deaths.

Lung cancer is identified as the cause of 969 deaths, followed by breast cancer (320) and prostate cancer which resulted in 272 deaths.

After cancer, the other major causes of death are heart disease (1,916 deaths) and strokes (1,072). However, fewer people died as a result of heart disease compared to previous years, with better medication and greater awareness of the causes being sited as reasons for the improvement.

The overall number of deaths show that more females passed away (7,707) than males (7,261).

The average age of death has been steadily rising over the last 30 years. Last year it was 76.4, with 64% of all deaths being of people aged 75 and over. Although the number of older people passing away continues to grow, the Statistics & Research Agency points out that this is a consequence of the improvements in mortality over the last 50 years with more people surviving into old age. The Agency also said that as the population survives into older age, deaths due to cancer or dementia are on the increase. The number of deaths attributed to dementia last year was 1,400.

More people are living to 100 or beyond than at any other period on record. Indeed, 108 of the deaths last year were of centenarians — the highest number  ever.

Drug related deaths continue to grow here. The 115 deaths recorded last year represented what the Statistics & Research Agency referred to as a “marked increase” from ten years’ ago when there was 52 such cases.

While a total of 303 suicides (229 men and 74 women) were registered, the Agency has pointed out that 158 of the deaths took place during 2013, with the remainder happening in earlier years but only being registered as suicides last year because of the time it takes to carry out investigations.

Alcohol was listed as the cause of death in 236 cases last year. This represented a slight increase but the figures show that over the past ten years, the average number of alcohol-related deaths has been 259 per year.

We have listed a number of local cancer charities, if you wish to make a donation:

Clic Sargent, 31 Bruce Street, Belfast BT2 7JD. or Online.

Cancer Focus N.I., 40-44 Eglantine Avenue, Belfast BT9 6DX. or Online.

Marie Curie Cancer Care, Fundraising Office, 60 Knock Road, Belfast BT5 6LQ. or Online.

Macmillan Cancer Support, N.I. Fundraising Office, 5a Stirling House, Castlereagh Business Park, 478 Castlereagh Road, Belfast BT5 6BQ or Online.

The Cancer Fund for Children, Curlew Pavillion, Portside Business Park, Airport Road West, Belfast BT3 9ED. Online.

Cancer Research NI, Unit 1, The Pavillions, 22a Kinnegar Drive, Holywood BT18 9JQ or Online.

Cancer Lifeline, 44 Alliance Avenue, Belfast BT14 7PJ. or Online.

The Teenage Cancer Trust. To get information about fund raising efforts in Northern Ireland click here.

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