2. Ischaemic heart disease causes more than every fifth death

Of the main causes of death, most Finns die of diseases of the circulatory system. The share has, however, decreased from 47 per cent to 39 per cent in the past twenty years. Among diseases of the circulatory system, ischaemic heart disease is still one of the most common causes of death for Finns. Ischaemic heart disease causes more than every fifth death (21%). In 2012, 11,099 persons died from ischaemic heart disease. Of these, 5,832 or 53 per cent were men. Persons that die of this disease have become older than before. In 1970, four out of ten persons that died of ischaemic heart disease were aged 15 to 64 while in 2012 only one in ten of such deaths occurred among working-age people. The number of deaths caused by ischaemic heart disease continued decreasing in 2012.

Figure 1 shows ischaemic heart disease mortality age-standardised. In age standardisation, the effect of the age structure of the population and its changes are eliminated. In this case, it shows at what level mortality from ischaemic heart disease would be if the age structure of the population remained unchanged during the whole reference period. When the ageing of the population is eliminated from the figures by age standardisation, it can be seen that ischaemic heart disease mortality has fallen evenly over the last 40 years.

Figure 1. Age-standardised mortality from ischaemic heart disease in 1970 to 2012

Figure 1. Age-standardised mortality from ischaemic heart disease in 1970 to 2012

The second highest number of deaths, 23 per cent, were caused by neoplasms. Men's age-standardised mortality from neoplasms has decreased clearly in the past five years but that of women has remained unchanged. The commonest type of cancer causing death for men is still lung cancer. Women's mortality from lung cancer has increased over the past four decades but for men it started decreasing already in the 1980s. In 2012, a total of 1,467 men and 736 women died from carcinoma of the larynx, carcinoma of the tracheitis and lung cancer.

Figure 2. Age-standardised carcinoma of the larynx, carcinoma of the tracheitis and lung cancer 1970 to 2012

Figure 2. Age-standardised carcinoma of the larynx, carcinoma of the tracheitis and lung cancer 1970 to 2012

The commonest type of cancer causing death of working-age women is breast cancer. In 2012, four out of ten women that died from breast cancer were under the age of 65. In 2012, breast cancer was as common a cause of death for working-age women as alcohol-related causes were. In 2012, the number of deaths from breast cancer totalled 876, that is, 30 deaths per 100,000 women. Breast cancer mortality has grown in the past few decades but age-standardised breast cancer mortality has remained almost unchanged since the 1970s (Figure 3).

After lung cancer, prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer resulting in death. In 2012, the number of deaths from prostate cancer for men was 852, while in 2011 it was 879. Above all, it was a common cause of death for aged men, more than nine out of ten of the deceased are over 65. Prostate cancer mortality was in 2012 on level with women's breast cancer mortality, that is, 33 deaths per 100,000 men. Men's age-standardised prostate cancer mortality has decreased clearly in the 2000s.

Figure 3. Age-standardised prostate cancer mortality for men and breast cancer mortality for women 1970 to 2012

Figure 3. Age-standardised prostate cancer mortality for men and breast cancer mortality for women 1970 to 2012

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Airi Pajunen 09 1734 3605, Kati Taskinen 09 1734 3297, kuolemansyyt@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 30.12.2013

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2012, 2. Ischaemic heart disease causes more than every fifth death . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 14.10.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2012/ksyyt_2012_2013-12-30_kat_002_en.html