Cancer outstrips heart disease as biggest killer among Dutch women

Cancer has outstripped heart and artery disease as the biggest killer of women in the Netherlands for the first time, according to new figures published by the national statistics office CBS.

Last year 76,800 women died in the Netherlands, of whom 20,700 were killed by cancer and 20,500 by heart and artery disease. The biggest rise is among women dying of lung cancer – 1997 lung cancer killed 1,900 women but this rose to 4,400 last year as the impact of decades of smoking took hold.

In total, lung cancer accounted for 21% of female cancer deaths, followed by breast cancer (15%) and colorectal cancer (12%).

Lung cancer is by far the biggest cancer killer among men – accounting for 25%. Prostate cancer and colorectal cancer are each responsible for 11% of male cancer deaths, the CBS said.

The CBS points out that although more people are dying of cancer, there are fewer cancer deaths per head of the population. Since the end of the 1980s, the number of people dying of cancer as a percentage of the population has been falling.

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