Women in the UK are more likely to die of cancer than in the rest of Europe, figures revealed today.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the death rate among British women from all kinds of cancer was higher than in countries including Italy, France and Portugal.
The figures, from 2007, recorded 153.7 deaths per 100,000 women in the UK, compared with an average of 131.5 deaths in the rest of the EU that year.
Also higher than average were Holland, Ireland, Poland and Hungary, which had the highest death rate from cancer in Europe.
The fewest cancer deaths in 2007 were recorded in Spain and Cyprus, each with just over 100 per 100,000 women.
Breast cancer is the most common form of female cancer in the UK. It is also the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide, after lung cancer, according to ONS statistics released in 2009.
Between 2000 and 2007, death rates from breast cancer in women fell in both the UK and the EU, by 3.7 and 3.2 deaths per 100,000 respectively.
The 2007 death rate from breast cancer for women in the UK remained higher than in Europe, at an average of 26.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants compared with 23.6 elsewhere.
The data was released as part of an ONS study of British healthcare, showing that 89% of people rated the quality of the UK system good or very good, compared with 70% across the EU.
The report also looked at life expectancy, revealing that men born in the UK in 2007 could expect to live 1.6 years longer on average than their European counterparts.
British women could expect to live 0.3 years less than the EU average.