Cancer is Derry’s biggest killer

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Cancer was the biggest cause of death in Derry last year, new figures reveal.

A new report by the Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (NISRA) show that 251 people died in Derry in 2011 due to malignant neoplasms, more commonly known as cancerous tumours.

In total there were 744 deaths recorded in Derry last year - compared to 779 in 2010.

Circulatory diseases such as Ischaemic Heart Disease (198 deaths) and Respiratory Diseases (100) were the second and third largest causes of death here last year.

The city had a recorded death rate of 6.8 per 1000 of population which was one of the lower death rates across Northern Ireland.

Across the north there were 14,200 deaths last year - the lowest number ever recorded.

The NISRA reports also finds that over the last three decades the average age at death has increased markedly. In 1981 it stood at 70.0 years – last year it was 75.7 years.

Last year also saw the lowest stillbirth rate (3.6 stillbirths per 1,000 births or 1 stillbirth in every 385 births) ever recorded and in 2011 there were just over one hundred deaths of centenarians; with the oldest man and woman to die both aged 107 years.

Dr David Marshall from NISRA said: “These latest statistics show continuing improvements in mortality.

“Last year the infant death rate reached a new low and we also saw the lowest number of deaths ever. The overall fall in mortality is notable given the population continues to increase in number and get older.

“However a consequence of the ageing population is the increasing number of deaths due to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”