Prostate cancer deaths have passed 12,000 a year for the first time. The toll has risen by more than a quarter in less than 20 years, official figures show. By contrast, the number of annual deaths from breast cancer dropped by nearly 1,600 between 1999 and 2017, from 12,947 to 11,371. Annual prostate deaths have risen by nearly 2,600 in the same period, from 9,460 to 12,031 – a 27 per cent increase. Our ageing population is the main reason, with older men more likely to develop the disease. However, the number of patients diagnosed with breast cancer has also risen – yet the number of deaths has fallen.