Sunday, 12 January 2014

Concern over cancer rates in Hyndburn.

Cancer Research UK has released comprehensive data comparing constituencies across England (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/local-cancer-statistics/). The results for Hyndburn are concerning when compared nationally.

The cancer incident rate in East Lancashire is 427.1 per 100,000, which is notably higher than the English average of 398.1 per 100,000.

Specifically, East Lancashire has higher incidences of lung and prostate cancer. Fortunately these are two of the most preventable forms of cancer. Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight through diet and exercise, cutting back on alcohol, and staying safe in the sun could prevent up to 40% of all cancer cases.

Early detection is critical to combating cancer – the earlier a cancer is detected, the higher the chance of successful treatment. Unfortunately, data shows that significantly more patients in East Lancashire (28.1%) are diagnosed through emergency routes as compared to the rest of England (23.7%). Higher number of diagnoses through this route may indicate late diagnosis, which correlates closely with poor survival.


I cannot stress enough the importance of early diagnosis—cancer is much easier to treat when caught early. It is important to get screened regularly for cancer and to talk to your GP about any unusual or persistent changes. If you experience any of these symptoms you should talk to your GP:

· An unusual lump or swelling anywhere on your body
· A change in the size, shape or colour of a mole
· A sore that won’t heal after several weeks
· A mouth or tongue ulcer that lasts longer than three weeks
· A cough or croaky voice that lasts longer than three weeks
· Persistent difficulty swallowing or indigestion
· Problems passing urine
· Blood in your urine
· Blood in your bowel motions
· A change to more frequent bowel motions that lasts longer than four to six weeks
· Unexplained weight loss or heavy night sweats
· An unexplained pain or ache that lasts longer than four weeks
· Breathlessness
· Coughing up blood

In the last 40 years cancer survival rates have doubled, and the prognosis for a cancer diagnosis is better than it has ever been. If you have not been screened recently, especially if you are 50 or older, it is a good idea to get seen by your GP.