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Plan is drawn up to tackle Telford cancer rates

By Rob Smith | Telford | Health | Published:

A comprehensive plan has been drawn up to tackle the number of people dying from cancer in Telford & Wrekin.

Smoking was cited as a reason for Telford's higher than average cancer death rates

Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group said it is tackling the issue after figures showed cancer kills more people than any other illness in the area.

The CCG has begun putting into place its strategy which includes training 200 more health and social care professionals who will have conversations with patients encouraging them to take part in cancer screening.

Experts have said that the problem in Telford & Wrekin is partly down to poor levels of early diagnosis.

A program has already been set up whereby the CCG works with Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK, Telford & Wrekin Council and the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

This partnership has already improved cancer prevention efforts in the area, partly through its Be Clear on Cancer campaign.

In August a further two year strategy to reduce cancer deaths will go before the Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Cancer Group for their consideration.

Edith MacAlister, of Telford & Wrekin CCG, said she had advice for people in the borough.

She said: “Be aware and make sure all your family know that four out of 10 cancers are preventable. Cancers can be prevented by not smoking or stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating more fruit and veg and reducing processed food, red meat and salt as well as drinking less than 14 units of alcohol a week.

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“Cancer screening saves many thousands of lives each year by picking up pre cancers and early stage cancer particularly bowel and cervical cancer so make sure now that you and all your family are taking part in regular screening.

“Be aware of signs and symptoms of cancer which are new or unusual for you.

“Just don’t delay worrying what it might be or feeling that you might be wasting the GP’s time get it checked straight away and put your mind at ease.

"Cancer survival is not all about early diagnosis. Improvements and consistency of treatment is also vital and CCG commissioners are working with SaTH to improve a number of cancer pathways."

Last week it emerged that almost a third of Telford & Wrekin’s deaths were attributed to cancer, making up 28.9 per cent of deaths in 2016, according to the most recent Public Health England figures available.

The figure is almost one per cent higher than the national cancer death rate – and two per cent higher than the rest of Shropshire.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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