People in Dorset are most likely to die from cancer and circulatory disease, new figures show.

Figures released by Public Health England shows that cancer is the main cause of death across Dorset with the exception of Purbeck where circulatory disease was the biggest killer.

Figures show that 28 per cent of all deaths were caused by cancer across Dorset in 2016, around the same as the national average for England.

However, at the same time five years earlier, cancer was responsible for 29.1 per cent of deaths nationally.

The proportion of circulatory disease deaths in Purbeck is 29 per cent, above the rate for England, where 25.5 per cent of deaths were caused by such conditions in 2016 and closer to the national average of five years earlier, 28.9 per cent.

Helen Rippon, chief executive of Worldwide Cancer Research said that although the rate across Dorset was high, cancer deaths had improved because of focused investment in developing better tests and treatments.

She added: "Some types of cancer have benefitted incredibly from research, with a person's chance of survival pushing upwards of 90 per cent.

"Others have not fared as well and survival rates are still as low as they were in 1970.

"Historically, less funding has been given to some types of cancer, which somewhat explains the discrepancies in survival rates.

"The proportion of deaths caused by cancer in the UK is slightly higher than seen in Europe as a whole, where cancer accounts for 20 per cent of all deaths.

"To understand why some places may have higher or lower numbers of people dying from cancer you need to be able to take everything into account, including dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors."

Jacob West, director of healthcare innovation at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Progress has slowed since 2011 and 150,000 people still die from heart and circulatory disease in the UK each year, with many more living with debilitating conditions like heart failure if they do survive."

He added: "Socio-economic factors across Dorset have a significant effect on someone’s risk of heart and circulatory diseases, with research suggesting this is largely due to unhealthier lifestyles and being less likely to report any warning signs to their GP."

It comes at the same time that Dorset County Council revealed that the States of Dorset Report on Health and Wellbeing showed that 59 per cent of adults in Dorset were classified as overweight or obese.

Obesity is commonly associated with an increased mortality and morbidity of circulatory disease.