Bid to 'beat cancer sooner'

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Health & Education Editor

DEATH rates for breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer have fallen by almost a quarter in the North-East in the last 20 years, according to new figures from Cancer Research UK.

But the charity now wants the region to get behind a new campaign called ‘We Will Beat Cancer Sooner.’

Launched in a hard-hitting TV advert, the campaign aims to dramatically increase investment in cancer research.

While death rates in the UK for breast cancer have fallen by 38 per cent, bowel cancer by 34 per cent, lung cancer by 27 per cent and prostate cancer by 21 per cent the charity wants to go even further.

Breast cancer scientists have improved detection of the disease through screening, developing more specialist care and more effective treatments - such as improved surgery, radiotherapy and drugs.

Twenty years ago, around15,000 people died from the disease every year in the UK compared with 11,600 now.

Research also means fewer bowel cancer patients are losing their lives to the disease thanks to improved early detection and the development of better treatments.

Today almost 3,000 fewer people a year in the UK die from bowel cancer compared to 20 years ago. The recent introduction of bowel cancer screening is likely to further reduce mortality rates.

There are now more than 3,000 fewer lung cancer deaths in the UK than 20 years ago.

But as smoking rates began to fall later in women than in men, death rates have actually risen in women.

There has also been little improvement in the outlook for those that are diagnosed with the disease so Cancer Research UK has made it a priority.

But not all cancer death rates have dropped. Mortality rates in liver, pancreatic, melanoma, oral and some digestive cancers have all increased.

Lisa Millett, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the North-East, said: “We’re calling on people across the North-East to back our new campaign and join the fight against cancer because, together, we will beat cancer. We’re determined that the research we fund will help save more lives.”

The charity urges people to make regular donations, take goods to a Cancer Research UK shop, raise money by taking part in a sponsored Race for Life or sign up to March On Cancer this October.

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