25th March 18:30
Cancer map shows way to save 17,000 lives a year (diet down bladder stomach cancer)
Tim Castle, "Cancer map shows way to save 17,000 lives a year", Reuters
UK, July 5, 2005,
More than 17,000 cancer deaths could be prevented each year in the UK
and Ireland if lifestyles and healthcare were improved in the most
deprived areas, according to a study on Tuesday.
Socially deprived areas in the north of England and central Scotland
have a higher than average occurrence and death rate for cancers of the
lung, lip, mouth and pharynx, according to a "cancer atlas" published
by the Office for National Statistics.
These conditions, all associated with smoking, alcohol abuse and poor
diet, were found with lower than average rates in the prosperous south
and midlands of England.
"People in deprived areas are more likely to get some types of cancer
and their survival from most types of cancer is lower," said National
Cancer Director Mike Richards in a foreword to the study.
"This atlas highlights those cancers and areas where further education,
provision of services, or attention to the environment -- in the
broadest sense, including diet -- could markedly reduce the number of
cancer cases and deaths."
Stopping smoking and cutting down on alcohol would have the greatest
effect on cancer death rates, said the report, which based its findings
on data from 1991 to 2000.
It estimated around 17,450 cancer deaths a year could be prevented, of
which 8,600 would be from cancer of the lung, and 5,720 from cancers of
the bladder, stomach, oesophagus, lip, mouth, larynx, pancreas and
Around 90 percent of lung cancer cases are attributable to smoking, the
report said, while smoking, along with alcohol-abuse and poor diet, are
the main risk factors for the other cancers.
If these reductions were achieved, just 15 health authorities in the
north of England and Scotland would account for a third of all the
extra lives saved across the UK and Ireland.
The Department of Health said the report's data would help the
government's own Cancer Plan which was published in 2000.
"It is crucial that preventative actions to help people lead a healthy
lifestyle are implemented first in those areas where prevalence of
cancer is particularly high," a Department of Health spokeswoman said.