Shropshire Star

Smoking and lifestyles blamed as Telford cancer rates above UK average

Cancer is Telford’s biggest killer, with a death rate higher than the national average.

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Smoking was cited as a reason for Telford's higher than average cancer death rates

Smoking and unhealthy lifestyles were today blamed for putting the town’s population at risk of the disease.

Almost a third of Telford & Wrekin’s deaths were attributed to cancer, making up 28.9 per cent of deaths in 2016, according to the most recent Public Health England figures available.

The figure is almost one per cent higher than the national cancer death rate – and two per cent higher than the rest of Shropshire.

Edith McAlister of Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said people in Telford & Wrekin were also not reporting their symptoms early.

She said: “High rates of cancer deaths in Telford & Wrekin are related to comparatively poor rates of early diagnosis and poor cancer survival at one year particularly for lung, breast and colorectal cancers.

“Deaths from lung cancer are still attributable to higher rates of smoking and breast and colorectal cancers are linked to high and growing rates of obesity.”

Ms McAlister said Telford & Wrekin has a lower proportion of cancers identified at the early Stage 1 and Stage 2 phases – 49 per cent versus a national average of 53 per cent.

She added: “Early diagnosis is crucial to survival. More than nine out of 10 bowel cancer patients will survive for more than 10 years if diagnosed at an early stage.”

Helen Rippon, chief executive of Worldwide Cancer Research, said the lower mortality rate from cancer in the country in recent years is a consequence of better tests and treatments, but there is still work to be done in areas like Telford.

She said: “To understand why some places may have higher or lower numbers of people dying from cancer you need to be able to take everything into account, including dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors.

"The proportion of deaths caused by cancer in the UK is slightly higher than seen in Europe as a whole, where cancer accounts for 20 per cent of all deaths."

Circulatory diseases like hypertension were the second biggest killer in Telford & Wrekin, causing 23.7 per cent of deaths over the same period, down from 28.2 per cent in 2011.