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Also in 2020, most deaths were due to cardiovascular diseases and cancer

The 2 main groups of causes of death in the Flemish Region in 2020 were cancer (or other neoplasms) (23%) and diseases of the cardiovascular system (22%). Almost half of all deaths in 2020 could be attributed to these 2 groups of causes of death. The effective number of deaths from cancer and cardiovascular diseases did decrease between 2019 and 2020. In 2020, it was 16,133 deaths from cancer (-428 versus 2019) and 15,481 deaths from cardiovascular diseases (-586 versus 2019). At the same time, 10,842 people died from Covid-19 infection in 2020. This is 15% of the total number of deaths.

The percentage and the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases is slowly decreasing. Since 2012, the share of the two main causes of death is almost equal. In 2019, for the first time, the proportion of deaths from cancers was higher than that of cardiovascular diseases.

Figures on causes of death for 2021 are not yet available.

More cancer deaths in men than in women

In 2020, cancer caused most fatalities among men (26%). Deaths due to cardiovascular diseases came second with 20%, followed by COVID-19 (15%).

In women, cardiovascular diseases were the main cause of death (23%). Death due to cancer came second (20%), followed by COVID-19 (15%).

Mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease and Covid-19 increases with age

The risk of death from cancer increased gradually with age in 2020. Mortality from cardiovascular disease and death from Covid-19 infection increased very sharply from the age of 75 years.

In 2020, the risk of dying from cancer for those 75 years and over was nearly twice as high for men than for women. The risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease was higher in men than women at all ages, although the difference becomes smaller in the oldest age group.

The risk of death from Covid-19 infection increases sharply with age. One-third of deaths in men aged 85 and over were due to Covid-19 in 2020. In women in the same age group, Covid-19 was the cause of death in a quarter of cases.

Higher mortality due to cardiovascular diseases and cancer in Flemish Region than in other regions

In 2020, there were, relatively speaking, slightly more deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in the Flemish Region than in the other 2 regions. This also applies to deaths due to cancer. The Brussels region had the highest proportion of deaths due to Covid-19 infection.

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