Chapter

Death

Peter Hoskin and Wendy Makin

in Oncology for Palliative Medicine

Second edition

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780192628114
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730115 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192628114.003.0027
Death

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One in every four people in the United Kingdom dies from cancer. This dreaded disease develops in over 50 per cent in the population aged 65 and above while more than 20 per cent of people aged 75 and more are affected by it. The commonest cause of death among the populace was lung cancer, a disease attributed to life. Before the 20th century, it caused a mortality rate of 23 per cent. Prostate cancer, the second most common cause of cancer death, causes death in men between the ages of 75 and 79 years old. In contrast, breast cancer, which is the most prevalent cancer disease in women, affects the younger strata, often causing deaths in those aged 35–54 years. The third most common cause of cancer death is colorectal cancer. There has been little change in the mortality rates over the past years. Other cancer diseases such as stomach cancers, bladder cancers, testicular cancers, and leukaemia have caused a lower number of deaths over the years. This chapter focuses on death caused by cancer diseases. The first death-causing factor tackled in this chapter is cancer treatment. Here, the invasive treatment methods, drug side effects, and the long-term effect of cancer treatment that may lead to the increasing incidence of death are detailed. The main causes of death in cancer patients are emphasized as well. Focus is directed to the most prevalent causes of death in patients with cancer, such as infection (e.g. sepsis and pneumonia), thromboembolism, cachexia, haemorrhage, and specific organ failure.

Keywords: cancer; death; cancer treatment; causes of death; infection; sepsis; pneumonia; thromboembolism; cachexia; haemorrhage

Chapter.  2460 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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