London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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London County Council 1958

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]

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The cancer death-rate for all ages was 2.47 per 1,000 in 1958—again a slight increase
over the previous year. Cancer is, however, largely a disease of the later half of life
and in order to eliminate variations, caused by a changing age/sex composition of the
population, rates for specific age/sex groups are shown below:

Table (v)—Cancer mortality rates per 1,000 living, 1949-58

Age and Sex7949195019511952195319541955195619571958
Males :
All Males2.392.492.602.612.682.642.732.762.77285
Females :
All Females1.961.951.992.
All Persons2.

The table shows, for the most part, that cancer mortality has increased over the ten
years, for both sexes and at most age levels. The overall changes are summarised
below in the form of the mean annual number of deaths and death rates for the two
triennia 1949-51 and 1956-58—average triennial figures have been used to minimise
the effect of year-to-year fluctuations.

Table (vi)—Mean annual number of deaths and death rates by age and sex, 1949-51 and 1956-58

Age group1949-511956-58Percentage change in rate
No. of deathsRate per 1,000 populationNo. of deathsRate per 1,000 population
Males :
0-24500.09570.11+ 22
25-442350.431980.41- 5
45-641,5284.181,7364.50+ 8
65+2,13015.002,25915.47+ 3
Females :
0-24430.07450.09+ 29
25-442590.462470.50+ 9
65+1,9738.612,1318.42- 2

The biggest proportionate changes are in the youngest age groups but they are based
on relatively small death rates; absolutely, the eight per cent, increase in the male rate
at ages 45-64 years is of greater importance than the 22 per cent, increase at ages 0-24
years—the former represents an increase of over 200 cancer deaths a year in middle-aged