Cancer Claims Lives of 750 Coventry Residents Every Year

By Kerryn Ramm

It’s an unfortunate truth that every year cancer takes the lives of 750 people in Coventry. The majority of these cases are in someway linked to smoking, a preventable form of cancer.

In a meeting held by Coventry City Council yesterday, the health issues in Coventry were addressed, in particular, the disappointing survival rates one year on from diagnosis as a result of people leaving it too late to get checked out.

The screening uptake is particularly low in more deprived areas of Coventry and in ethnic minority groups. It is thought that the reason for this is that those with a lower socio-economic status do not know the signs and symptoms of cancer.

Cancer rates for UK vs. Coventry 1993-2012. Source: Coventry City Council Health & Wellbeing Board Agenda 24/02/14

Cancer rates for UK vs. Coventry 1993-2012.
Source: Coventry City Council Health & Wellbeing Board Agenda 24/02/14

According to the graph above, cancer mortality rates in Coventry have stayed close to the national average, but over the last couple of years have been distancing themselves from this line. This is a worrying indication that more needs to be done to educate people in knowing the signs and symptoms of cancer, as well as devising appropriate preventative measures. However, as the numbers of people now smoking continue to fall in the city it is likely the rates will improve significantly over time.

I spoke to Ruth Tennant, the Deputy Director for Public Health in Coventry who outlined their plan for combatting preventable cancers.  ”We’re putting a lot of work into the cancers that can be prevented, for example Lung Cancer, so we’re focusing on getting people to quit smoking.”

“In Coventry we have some issues with some of the cancers that can be detected through screening, less women are being screened in Coventry compared to other parts of the country. It’s an important priority of ours that we put the message out that screenings are available to everyone and if these cancers are picked up early the chances of living longer are much higher.”

It seems that the advice across the board is to know your body, if you think something is wrong it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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