Why is Yorkshire Lagging Behind When it Comes to Cancer?

19 July 2019

You may have seen our ‘Give It Some WellyTV advert recently and learnt, for the first time, that in Yorkshire more people get cancer and die from it than almost anywhere else in the country. 

This is a very sad fact and, as Yorkshire’s cancer charity, we mean to change this.

Across the UK, over half of all adults born since 1960 will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime*. We believe we have a responsibility to raise awareness of this, the problems here in Yorkshire and how to identify potential symptoms to secure the earliest diagnosis. 

There are many reasons for the problems in Yorkshire.

We have a lot to be proud of in our county. But our region has the highest smoking rate in the country and high levels of obesity.  Both put people at risk of developing cancer and can lead to the higher rates we see in some parts of the region. 

We also have a rich industrial heritage which means some people have worked with chemicals or in environments that may have increased their risk of cancer. 

We love Yorkshire’s diverse landscape. From hills and valleys to thriving urban centres, there’s nowhere quite like it. But in some areas of our towns and cities, people are living in deprived communities, where they often have poor knowledge of cancer symptoms. They don’t always know when to see their GP, and this can lead to their cancer being found late when it’s often harder to treat. It can also be more difficult for people living in deprived areas to access healthcare.

Yorkshire is known for being the biggest county in England with a lot of green space – and this makes it hard for some people in rural communities to get to the screening and treatment they need. Those in more remote areas have to travel long distances to get the best treatment.

Four in ten cancers are diagnosed at a late stage in Yorkshire. One in five cancer patients in the region are first diagnosed when they are admitted to hospital – either in Accident and Emergency or through an emergency referral from their GP - with severe symptoms. When a cancer is diagnosed at this stage, the chances of survival are lower.

We also know that fewer clinical trials take place in Yorkshire than in other areas of England. This means patients don’t always have access to pioneering treatments that could help them survive cancer.

What is Yorkshire Cancer Research doing about it?

It’s important to diagnose cancer early when it’s often easier to treat, so we focus a large amount of the charity’s efforts on this. By diagnosing cancer at the earliest possible stage, we know we can save more lives in our region. We are working to ensure 2,000 more people to survive cancer every year in Yorkshire. 

With the help of our ‘Give It Some Welly’ campaign, we hope to raise vital funds that will help to close the gap between Yorkshire and the rest of the country. Here’s how we’re tackling cancer in the region:

•    Working with hospitals across Yorkshire to improve standards of treatment and care, ensuring that patients have access to state-of-the-art surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

•    Bringing more clinical trials to the region, so that more patients have access to the latest treatments.

•    Funding rehabilitation programmes and studies that will help to reduce the chance of cancer coming back.

•    Working in local communities to improve participation in the national screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer, to encourage healthy lifestyles and increase awareness of signs and symptoms.

You can see what we’re funding here.

The good news is that once cancer is diagnosed, we have doctors and hospitals in our region that are among the best in the country and we work closely with clinicians and NHS Trusts to ensure that more Yorkshire people are connected with the services they need to help them get better. 

Want to get involved?

It’s really easy to get involved. Take a look at the ‘Give It Some Welly’ site for some great fundraising ideas and to download or order your free fundraising pack.

Want more information?

The data underpinning our advertising is from Public Health England (NHS) and Office for National Statistics. If you want more information about this please email research@ycr.org.uk.

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