People living across Lancashire and South Cumbria have been urged to take up potentially life-saving cancer screenings.
The call, from the region’s cancer director, comes just in time for World Cancer Day (4 February) – used to spread the word about the disease and how we can all take steps to prevent it.
The latest figures for Lancashire and South Cumbria show that for the year in 2021/22 around a third of people (34 per cent) failed to take up their invite for breast cancer screening and cervical cancer screening. In addition to this, 29 per cent of people aged 60 to 74 did not take up their bowel cancer screening.
Dr Neil Smith, a GP and cancer director for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “Catching cancer early saves lives. In September 2022, 46 per cent of those diagnosed with cancer were already at stage three or four, when it is more difficult to treat. Screening plays a crucial part by looking for early signs that could indicate cancer is developing. It helps to spot cancers at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to be successful and chances of survival are much better.
“In some instances, screening can prevent cancers from developing at all when early changes are picked up. Cervical screening is a good example of this. We need more people to come forward when invited for screening so we can find problems sooner or, as in most cases, provide people with valuable peace of mind when they are given the all clear.”
According to the Union for International Cancer Control, which organises World Cancer Day, currently 10 million people die from cancer worldwide every year.
However, more than 40 per cent of cancer-related deaths could be preventable as they are linked to risk factors such as smoking, alcohol use, poor diet and physical inactivity.
World Cancer Day is a perfect opportunity for people to spread the word about cancer and how we all can take steps to prevent it. One of the things we can do is to take up our NHS cancer screening invitations.
This year’s World Cancer Day’s theme, ‘Close the care gap’, is all about celebrating progress in its many forms that enable more people to seek and receive the care they need and deserve.
For further information about World Cancer Day visit www.worldcancerday.org