ONS figures warn of ‘North-South’ divide in cancer rates

People in the North East of England are 15% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than people in residing London, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have indicated.

ONS Cancer Registration Statistics for 2015 considered differences in age and the number of people living in an area; concluding that variations are likely to include lifestyle choices such as the amount people drink and smoke.

The largest ‘North-South’ divide is seen in women with lung cancer, whereby women in the North East are almost twice as likely to get lung cancer compared to women in the South West.

“What we are seeing is a worrying level of regional variation, with higher rates of people being diagnosed with cancer in certain parts of the country,” said Dr Moira Fraser, director of Policy and Public Affairs at Macmillan Cancer Support. “This is an added challenge for the health service, and one which needs to be tackled on a local and national level. As one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime, every family in the UK is likely to face the disease at some point, and wherever they are, they need the best care and support from the point of diagnosis, as well as the right information about cancer and its risk factors.”

Macmillan Cancer Support believes the increase in cancer diagnosis is putting the NHS under intense pressure. The charity is calling for a clear and ambitious plan on how the NHS can meet the changing needs of a growing cancer population, and says the next government must also take regional variation and challenges into account to meet the rising demand and ensure that NHS cancer care is sustainable for the future.

“We know that more people than ever before are receiving the life-changing news that they have cancer. That’s why it’s more important than ever that the next government prioritises and supports the NHS workforce so that it can meet the rising demand over the next five years and beyond,” said Dr Fraser. “The statistics already take into account the ageing and growing population, so the reasons for the increase in diagnoses are likely to include better and earlier detection, but also lifestyle choices which can raise someone’s risk of getting cancer.

 

Originally published here

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