The continual improvement of cancer treatment is one of the main reasons that fewer people are dying prematurely from the disease than ever before.
New statistics from Cancer Research UK show that the number of people in their 50s dying from the illness has dropped below 14,000 for the first time in four decades.
In 1971 this figure stood at 21,300, meaning the death rate has fell by 40 per cent.
As well as more effective drugs, expects believe the decrease is due to a fall in smoking rates and better screening initiatives.
Dr Harpul Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said great progress has been made, but there is still work that must be done.
"We must also continue in our efforts to ensure our research keeps finding new ways to treat cancer so that it becomes a disease people live with rather than die from," he added.