Young cancer deaths halved in last 30 years

Deaths fell from about 580 per year to 300 in this age group while the largest drop was in those with leukaemia. More specialised treatments are likely to be behind the trend, the report said. However, a teenage cancer expert said more young people should be enrolled on clinical trials.
Cancer remains the main cause of death from any disease in teenagers and young adults. Only transport accidents account for more deaths in this age group. The report, Cancer Statistics Report: Teenage and Young Adult Cancer, calculated that about 2,100 young people aged 15-24 years old are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK.
But in the past 30 years or so, death rates have fallen in males from 88 deaths per million (in 1975-1977) to 44 deaths per million (in 2008-2010) and in females from 61 deaths per million to 31. Leukaemia deaths among teenagers and young adults have seen the greatest drop since 1995 in the UK – from an average of 54 per year to 39 in 2006-2010 in young males and from 38 to 21 deaths per year among females.
Brain tumours were the most common cause of cancer deaths in this age group between 2008 and 2010. Simon Davies, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, said he was pleased by the figures but wanted to see greater improvements.