Heart disease claims one in three deaths

Just over 142 thousand people died in the Netherlands in 2002. One third of these deaths were caused by cardiovascular disease. The second main cause of death is cancer, which claims one quarter of total mortality. This is followed by lung disease which accounted for just over 9 percent of deaths. Together, these three groups of disease caused 70 percent of deaths in the Netherlands in 2002.

Main causes of death, 2002

Main causes of death, 2002

Strokes mainly among (older) women

Most men and women, 48 thousand in all, died of cardiovascular disease. This is the equivalent of one third of the total number of deaths; seven years ago these causes accounted for just over 37 percent of deaths.

Men are more likely than women to die of an acute heart attack, while women were relatively often killed by a stroke.

Lung cancer claiming more women

Last year nearly 40 thousand people died of cancer: one quarter of the total number of deaths. The share of cancer in the number of deaths has been constant for years now. Three out of ten men who die of cancer, die of lung cancer, just over one in ten die of prostate cancer and around 7 percent are victims of cancer of the lymph nodes and leukaemia.

Deaths from main forms of cancer by sex, 2002

Deaths from main forms of cancer by sex, 2002

Breast cancer accounts for the largest share of female cancer deaths. One in five women who die from cancer, die from breast cancer. Lung cancer comes second. Lung cancer has been becoming increasingly common among women in recent years: seven years ago it killed 1,801 women, while last year it claimed 2,532 female deaths, an increase of more than 40 percent. Cancer of the colon is the third cause of cancer deaths for women.

Pneumonia claims relatively many deaths

In 2002 13.5 thousand people in the Netherlands died from lung disease. Relatively many of them died of pneumonia: one third of men and 46 percent of women.

People who die of pneumonia are usually elderly. More than 54 percent of men who die from lung disease are victims of chronic lung disease. For women this share is lower than for pneumonia, namely 38 percent.

Non-natural causes of death, 2002

Non-natural causes of death, 2002

Five thousand deaths from non-natural causes

Most people who die, die from a disease. Less than five percent of deaths, 5.3 thousand in 2002 are from non-natural causes. More men than women die from non-natural causes. For men, suicide is the main non-natural cause of death (1.1 thousand in 2002), followed by traffic accidents (just over seven hundred). For women, falls are the main non-natural cause of death (1.2 thousand people), followed by suicide (five hundred).

Ingeborg Keij