By Gareth Iacobucci
Deaths from bowel cancer have almost halved over the past 40 years in England, new official figures have shown.
Mortality rates from colorectal cancer decreased by 47% for women and by 35% for men between 1971 and 2008, according to the Office of National Statistics.
In 2008, approximately 7,200 men and 6,100 women died from colorectal cancer in England.
The figures also show that survival rates for colorectal cancer have doubled since 1971.
Five-year survival rates for colorectal cancer are approximately 50% for men and women diagnosed in 2001-06 and followed up to 2007.
Incidence rates for colorectal cancer are broadly unchanged over the past 10 years.
Although colorectal cancer increased by 28% for men and 11% for women between 1971 and 2007, rates peaked at 57 per 100,000 in men in 1999 and 38 per 100,000 women in 1992, and have remained relatively stable since.