Cancer is the third highest cause of premature death in Nottinghamshire according to a report being considered by the County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board tomorrow (Wednesday 7 November).
The report outlines how cancer rates vary across the county, the incidence and mortality rates of different types of cancer and the screening practices in place to reduce mortality rates.
23,861 people in the county are currently living with cancer. An average of 3,571 people are diagnosed with cancer each year and 1,798 people die from the disease annually. Around £45m is spent in the county on detecting and treating cancer each year.
Local incidence and mortality rates for cancer are slightly higher than the average for England. Lung cancer in particular is higher in Nottinghamshire than the England average.
The highest rates of incidence and mortality are in Mansfield and Ashfield compared to the lowest rates in Rushcliffe.
It is estimated over half of all cancer cases could be avoided if people made changes to their lifestyle, including giving up smoking, moderating alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight and having a high fibre diet. In addition, around of a quarter of all deaths from cancer are linked to tobacco smoking.
The report recommends that the Health and Wellbeing Board endorses the promotion of national campaigns to raise public awareness about the four most common cancers with high mortality rates – lung, large bowel, prostate and ovarian.
Recent campaign successes include the national awareness campaign aimed at people who have a cough for more than three weeks, which can be a possible sign of lung cancer. This led to a 50 percent increase in requests for chest X rays at both Sherwood Forest and Nottingham University Hospitals. There was also a high local response to the ‘blood in poo’ campaigns raising awareness of bowel cancer.
Councillor Martin Suthers, Chairman of the Council’s Health and Well-being Board, said: “There has been considerable success with recent national awareness campaigns which have increased the number of referrals locally for patients with suspected cases of cancer.
“Likewise, more people are screened locally compared to the national average with the coverage for cervical cancer being the highest in England.
“We would encourage everyone who receives an invitation to be screened, be it from the cervical, breast or bowel cancer screening programme, to take up the offer right away. We know that these three cancer screening programmes save lives.
“Early detection is vital with cancer so it is also very important for anyone who has been referred to hospital with symptoms that might suggest cancer to keep their appointment within the two-week limit.”
Kath Rowland, 51, from Woodthorpe, was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. She said: “I noticed a change in skin texture and went to my doctor to get it checked out. The tests showed it was cancer so I had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. I was very lucky as due to the type of cancer and the fact that it was caught early meant I did not need any follow-on chemo or radio therapy.
“I have been onTamoxifen for the last five years to reduce the risk of the cancer returning which I have now stopped taking, so I have effectively been given the final all-clear which is fantastic news.
“I would advise anyone who notices a change in their body or gets an invite for a cancer screening test to get it checked out because an early detection can make all the difference to the final outcome.”