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

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Coulsdon and Purley 1952

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Coulsdon]

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The principal causes of death locally during 1952 together with the rates per cent of total deaths, are shown in the following table:—

Cause.Number of Deaths.Rate per cent. of Total Deaths.
Heart and circulatory diseases33050.3
Cancer, malignant disease11417.4
Tuberculosis (all forms)142.1
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(A full list of the causes of deaths and the ages at which
they occurred is given in Table IV. in the Appendix.)
The death rate from heart and other circulatory diseases, 5.14,
was lower than in 1951, but higher than in 1949 and 1950. As,
however, this group includes a high proportion of elderly people
dying virtually of old age, it is not regrettable if this particular
rate remains high.
This year 79 per cent were over 65 years of age at the time of
death, compared with 81 per cent in each of the previous three
years, while no less than 54 per cent were over 75 years of age.
(Incidentally, 67 per cent of deaths from all causes were over 65
years, compared with 71, 69, and 61 in the three preceding years.)
The cancer death rate for the year 1952 was 1.78 compared
with 1.91, 1.84 and 1.73 in the last three years and an average of
1.75 since the war. The tendency for this rate to become more
stable after increasing more or less steadily for years is a welcome
change, although, unfortunately the improvement did not affect all
types of the disease. In general this death rate compares not
unfavourably with that for the Country as a whole.
The following table gives the age, sex and distribution of this
disease in the fatal cases which occurred in 1952. Compared with
recent years a regrettable increase in the number of deaths from
breast cancer in females is noted and a further increase of lung
cases among males. (This year 30% of the male deaths from
cancer were associated with the lung, while over 34% of the
female deaths were due to breast cancer, whereas the comparable
post-war averages for these conditions were 23% and 24%
The sudden increase in deaths from breast cancer calls for a
further reminder that any persistent lump in the female breast
should be reported to a doctor without delay, as successful remedial
measures can be applied.

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