DONCASTER has the worst one-year survival rate for cancer in the country, a shock new report reveals.
The plight of the borough - along with the rest of the North Trent cancer network - was detailed in recent health service performance information.
A major contributory factor towards the high mortality rates from cancer is late diagnosis of the disease.
A report by Dr Rupert Suckling, Doncaster’s deputy director of public health to councillors this week said that the number of new cancers was as increasing and survival times were low.
“Under 75 cancer mortality rates are falling but not fast enough to close the gap with England and Wales. Our forecasts show that cancer mortality rates will have to continue to fall faster than the national rate to close the gap,” said Dr Suckling in his report.
Deaths from cancer among under 75s had fallen to 120 per 100,000 population in 2009. Most common male cancers are lung, followed by prostate and colerectal.
In women, the main cancer is breast cancer, followed by lung and colorectal.
According to the report, there is a low awareness of risk factors for cancer in Doncaster. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, sunburn, diet, being overweight, stress, lack of exercise, genetics and family history.
Reasons for poor survival includes the disease being at a more advanced stage when diagnosed, due to lack of awareness of symptoms or older age, delays in diagnosis or treatment, other health conditions and poor general health.
The adult and communities overview and scrutiny panel were given details of work that was being undertaken to reduce death rates, including campaigns to make people aware of symptoms, support for GPs, including improved access to diagnostic facilities and maintaining improvements in hosptials, including waiting times and access to radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
The NHS “community champions” project involves local residents telling their stories in a bid to improve survival rates.
Fiona Lemmon, 61, of Clifton Byres, Maltby, was diagnosed with bowel cancer two years ago. She has been given the all clear. She said: “I put off going to the doctors as I though I just had an upset tummy. After three months I went to the doctors after the problems persisted I was referred to the hospital and right up to me seeing the tumour on the screen, I was convinced that I didn’t have cancer. But when I saw it, I had to believe it.
“I waited three months but it was still caught early. For others, this might not be the case.”
The Free Press’ Scan for Life appeal is seeking to raise £600,000 to buy a state of the art scanner for Doncaster Royal Infirmary to speed up and improve the diagnosis of cancer.