More people in the UK are living with cardiovascular disease than cancer

4 June 2015        

Illustration of a heart showing the main arteries

New figures released today show that while cancer now kills slightly more people than cardiovascular disease, many more people are living with cardiovascular disease than cancer – affecting the lives of millions of men and women across the UK.

Published in the journal Heart, new figures from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the University of Oxford, show that an estimated 7 million people across the UK are now living with cardiovascular disease. In comparison, it is estimated that 2.5 million people are living with cancer in the UK. 

Cardiovascular disease can take many forms, from furred up arteries that cause deadly heart attacks and strokes, to abnormal heart rhythms that can cause sudden death in seemingly healthy young people. Over the last 50 years, the British Heart Foundation has made great leaps forward in research to understand and treat cardiovascular disease, driving up survival rates. But this has left a new battle – helping the millions of people in the UK now living with cardiovascular disease.

Next steps

Around 70 per cent of people now survive a heart attack but better survival rates have left over half a million people with heart failure.

Simon Gillespie
Chief Executive, BHF

In the light of the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease, the British Heart Foundation is calling on the UK Government to maintain the current ringfenced science budget and commit to future increases. Without this commitment, the BHF’s ability to support world class research into conditions that affect 7 million people in the UK will be significantly reduced, as funds will have to be diverted from vital science to infrastructure costs like heating and lighting.

Support heart research

Our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal has already given over half a million people in the UK living with heart failure hope for a cure. It has funded research like that carried out by Professor Paul Riley and his team at the University of Oxford who have identified a new way to regenerate the heart after a heart attack.

We are funding millions of pounds into research to find a cure for heart failure. But we can only do so with your continued support.