Cancer death rates in the West Midlands have been slashed by a quarter in just 20 years.

The 25 per cent drop was better than the national average, where a 22 per cent decrease in deaths between 1990 and 2011 was recorded.

The results came against a backdrop of rising cancer diagnoses, said by Cancer Research UK to have been largely due to Britain’s ageing population.

Every year, around 28,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in West Midlands.

The biggest killer is lung cancer, which accounts for one in five of deaths; followed by bowel, breast and prostate cancers.

The statistics emerged as the charity prepared to launch a new campaign with a TV advert on Boxing Day.

Cancer Research UK spokeswoman Paula Young said: “Today cancer can be beaten.

“As these figures show, mortality rates are dropping significantly as the fruits of research produce more effective treatments with fewer side effects.

“But while we’re heading in the right direction, too many lives are still being lost to the disease, highlighting how much more work there is to do.

“Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer and the more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.”

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