Human heart
3D image of a human heart from NasaGetty

Cancer is now the biggest killer of British men, overtaking heart disease, research says.

Figures, published by journal Heart, revealed that cancer was ahead of cardiovascular disease as the primary cause of death in British men for the first time since the mid-20th century.

In total, the proportion of deaths from cancer was 29% while cardiovascular disease made up 28%. Among men alone, almost one third (32%) of deaths were due to cancer with 29% attributed to cardiovascular disease.

Dr Adam Timmis, of the NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit at Barts Health, London, told the MailOnline that the drop in cardiovascular-disease death rates was "among the greatest public health triumphs in the past 50 years".

He added: "If the national effort put into the detection of breast cancer could be matched in protecting young women against myocardial infarction [heart attacks] many more lives would probably be saved."