Concerned health chiefs are anxious people are aware of cancer’s warning signs, with latest NHS figures showing Manchester to be the least healthy major provincial city.
Of the eight regional ‘core cities’ – the others being Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle and Bristol – Manchester has the lowest life expectancy for men and women.
It also has the worst cancer rates, the highest rate of underage conception, the most number of alcohol-related hospital admissions and worst record for circulatory disease.
It also has the highest suicide rates, which are nearly double those in Liverpool and Sheffield.
Cancer rates are set to rise nationwide next year, especially among women, and NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale are urging people to focus on four main warning signs of the disease.
Heywood GP Dr Chris Duffy said: “It’s incredibly important for people to be aware of the key signs of cancer – the earlier it’s detected, the sooner treatment can begin and the better the chances of survival.”
Calls for heightened health awareness have never been more pertinent in the region.
Nearly 500 Rochdale residents died from cancer in 2011 – almost 16 times that figure passed away from the condition across Greater Manchester and Cheshire in the same year.
Any unexplained bleeding, lumps, pain or weight loss should be thoroughly investigated to ensure potential cancers are tackled in their early stages and that those statistics do not increase further.
This forms the cornerstone of the Know 4 Sure campaign, part of the NHS’ Be Clear on Cancer programme.
Nationally, health chiefs are anticipating an increase in cancer next year, with the most pronounced rise set to affect women suffering from lung cancer.
Dr Duffy added: “It may be nothing serious, but it is better to have it checked early to be sure. The message is clear – tell your GP if you notice any of the four signs.”
On February 18, local people with personal cancer experience will be highlighting the campaign at ASDA at the Old Cricket Ground from 10am, before doing the same at Sandbrook Park on February 20.
For more information about Know 4 Sure and other ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaigns, visit www.nhs.uk/know4sure.
Picture courtesy of tahitianlime, with thanks.