Cancer is the leading cause of death in France, accounting for 28.5% of all deaths in 2014, followed by cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 25%. However, there are gender differences: 33% of all deaths among men were related to cancer, while this proportion was lower among women (24%).

Cardiovascular diseases accounted for the greatest share of female deaths (27%). Looking at trends in more specific causes of death, heart diseases (ischaemic and other) are the main causes of death, but the number of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias has increased rapidly since 2000, a rise linked to population ageing, better diagnosis, lack of effective treatments and changes in coding practices.

Lung cancer continues to be the main cause of cancer death, reflecting the long-term consequences of high smoking rates (although smoking rates have come down since 2000). Following lung cancer, colorectal, breast and pancreatic cancer were the main causes of cancer death in France in 2014.

Source: OECD France Country Health Profile 2017