More people in Lincolnshire, UK, are dying of cancer than coronary heart disease, despite NHS statements that heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer, a new report has found.

The report by NHS Lincolnshire public health and partnerships director Dr Mandy Bretman compared death rates for cancer and heart disease between the periods 1995-97 and 2006-08.

Cancer rates in the UK increased by 4.1% to 302.60 per 100,000 of Lincolnshire patients in 2006-08 from 290.59 deaths per 100,000 during 1995-97, according to the report.

Lincolnshire’s death rate from coronary heart disease fell by 41.9% to 173.4 per 100,000 of the county’s patients in 2006-08 from 298.37 per 100,000 in 1995-97.

The report’s findings run contrary to the NHS’s general conclusion that coronary heart disease is the greatest cause of death in the UK.

Bretman said that combating coronary heart disease had been an NHS priority but now more people were developing and dying from cancer in their old age rather than heart attacks, according to

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“We have had 15 years where improvements have been made, but the key message is there is still room for further improvement,” Bretman said.