Health

Figures show regional cancer divide

  • 19 August 2013
  • From the section Health
Radiotherapy

The wide variation in the odds of getting and surviving cancer across the UK has been highlighted by a cancer charity.

Cities in the north of England have some of the lowest survival rates.

Cancer Research UK has launched a new tool that allows people to compare cancer statistics in their area with those in the rest of the country.

It hopes the local data will help doctors and politicians tackle the specific problems in their patch.

There is separate data for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, the greater Glasgow area had the highest cancer mortality while Shetland had the lowest.

Mortality was much higher in Belfast than the rest of Northern Ireland.

Merthyr Tydfil was one of the worst performing parts of Wales, while Ceredigion had better cancer survival rates.

Harrow, Richmond and Surrey in the south of England performed better than areas further north such as Stoke, Hartlepool and Nottingham.

Smoking

A significant factor in the regional variation is differences in lifestyle, such as smoking, which is linked to lung cancer.

Kensington and Chelsea, East Sussex and Devon all had fewer than 35 cases of lung cancer per 100,000 people.

The rate is more than double - in excess of 85 per 100,000, in cities such as Hull, Manchester and Liverpool.

A similar website presented by Public Health England led Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to describe the differences in England as "shocking".

Charlotte Williams, the executive director of London Cancer, said: "[The tool] means it's easier to identify where we're doing well, and where we could do better, and how we could potentially learn from others.

"This will pinpoint where we need to improve to help ensure everyone gets the best care possible."

Sara Hiom, director of patient engagement and early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said: "In the UK we are privileged to have access to valuable information about cancer diagnosis and treatments for different parts of the country.

"We've created this website because we hope that it will allow policymakers and healthcare professionals to understand what's going on in their area and support local insight and decision-making."

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