54 percent of deaths in 2019 caused by cancer or CVD

In 2019, mortality in the Netherlands stood at 151,885. This is nearly 1,500 fewer deaths than in the previous year. Most deaths were related to either cancer or cardiovascular disease; 45 thousand deaths were cancer-related (29.6 percent) and over 37 thousand (24.6 percent) caused by a cardiovascular disease. Over three-quarters (78.3 percent) of the deceased persons were aged 70 or older. Slightly more women than men died (51 percent versus 49 percent). This is evident from provisional figures on death causes as reported this month by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Lung cancer is still the most common type of cancer, accounting for nearly 22 percent of all cancer-related mortality (over 10 thousand persons). Of this group, nearly 3.7 thousand people died from cancer in lymphatic or blood-forming tissues, while in 3.5 thousand deaths the cause was colorectal cancer.

Causes of death, 2019*
DoodsoorzaakShare (% of total mortality)
Cancer29.6
Cardiovascular
diseases
24.6
Mental/behaviourial
disorders and diseases of
the nervous system
14.2
Diseases of the
respiratory system
8.3
Non-natural
deaths
5.7
Diseases of the
digestive system
3.1
Other
death causes
14.5
* provisional figures

CVD mortality down by one-quarter since 1970

Over the past 50 years, cardiovascular mortality has declined by one-quarter: from just under 50 thousand deaths in 1970 to over 37 thousand in 2019. The decline was more substantial among men (33 percent) than among women (15 percent).
Cancer mortality showed a steady rise at the same time: from over 25 thousand deaths in 1970 to 45 thousand in 2019, with a more significant increase among women than among men (90 versus 68 percent). From 2005 onwards, cancer has surpassed CVD as a death cause in male mortality. The same has applied to women only since 2016.

Deaths related to cancer and cardiovascular diseases
JaarCancer (men) (x 1,000)Cancer (women) (x 1,000)CVD (men) (x 1,000)CVD (women) (x 1,000)
197014.410.927.122.6
197114.810.926.822.6
197215.211.228.323.9
197315.811.426.822.9
197416.011.526.622.9
197516.611.827.623.2
197616.911.628.323.5
197716.711.826.823.0
197817.612.227.724.0
197917.612.627.823.7
198018.212.527.423.8
198118.413.227.824.4
198218.713.127.924.9
198318.713.427.824.6
198419.213.727.825.5
198519.214.128.425.9
198619.714.327.525.7
198720.114.926.224.6
198820.315.126.125.4
198920.115.326.225.6
199019.915.325.925.7
199120.115.525.826.1
199220.415.625.226.4
199320.516.026.627.7
199420.416.125.326.4
199520.416.125.526.6
199620.816.525.226.1
199720.416.724.325.5
199820.616.824.325.5
199921.017.224.025.6
200020.717.023.625.6
200120.617.122.824.8
200220.717.423.025.0
200320.817.422.624.3
200421.117.721.423.3
200521.218.120.822.6
200621.318.219.921.9
200721.718.119.321.5
200821.918.918.821.4
200922.518.818.320.6
201023.119.218.320.7
201123.019.917.920.3
201223.519.818.020.3
201322.919.518.020.5
201423.219.817.720.2
201523.920.318.620.8
201624.520.718.120.5
201724.520.418.120.1
201824.420.418.319.5
2019*24.320.718.219.2
* provisional figures


Cancer mortality down in relative terms

Notwithstanding the absolute annual increase in cancer mortality, cancer has become a less common death cause in relative terms. When taking into account population growth and ageing, the cancer mortality rate has shown a downward trend as of the late 1980s. This decline is more significant among men. Among women it is small, mainly due to an increase in lung cancer deaths. The standardised CVD mortality rate (number of deaths in every 100 thousand persons) has been falling since the early 1970s.