‘Alarming’ north-south cancer divide to be tackled by £5million project

Dr Yvette Oade, of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Professor Paul Stewart, of the University of Leeds, and Charles Rowett, of Yorkshire Cancer Research, launch the research fund at Leeds St James's Hospital. Picture by Simon Hulme.
Dr Yvette Oade, of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Professor Paul Stewart, of the University of Leeds, and Charles Rowett, of Yorkshire Cancer Research, launch the research fund at Leeds St James's Hospital. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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A multi-million pound investment in cancer research aims to address the “north-south cancer divide”.

The Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR) charity has revealed today that it is investing £5m in a five-year programme of research to address “extremely alarming” differences between mortality and cancer incidence rates.

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the Yorkshire region has the third highest cancer rates in England at 617 cases per 100,000 people, behind only the north west and north east. London has the lowest rate.

Yorkshire has higher than average mortality rates for many common cancers including lung and cervical cancer.

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YCR’s investment, in partnership with the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, will support leading research to identify key priorities in the county, better aid patients after diagnosis, improve transitions in cancer care and develop new therapies for early stage clinical trials.

Charles Rowett, chief executive at YCR, said: “The north-south divide in cancer incidence and mortality rates is extremely alarming.

“National funding for cancer research is currently concentrated far too heavily in London and the south-east and is therefore failing to address the enormous disparities in cancer outcomes that exist.”

The research will be led by leading researchers including Professor Paul Stewart, Dean of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds, and will focus on the “unmet need” of patient outcome research, from diagnosis to treatment and care.

Patient Barbara Hibbert, 57, who was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer last year, has backed the move after 12 months of treatment that has led to her being deemed cancer-free. Mrs Hibbert, 57, from Harrogate, said: “The people of Yorkshire deserve to have good treatment as much as anyone anywhere else.”

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