Districts in Leeds have among the highest rates for lung cancer in the country, with cancer experts saying they are concerned by proposed spending cuts to smoking and tobacco control programmes.
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Leeds West and Leeds South and East were said to have high rates of lung cancer incidents in research by Yorkshire Cancer Care.
It comes as leading figures in the field met for a second day in Yorkshire to draw up a strategy to tackle a “North-South divide” in cancer outcomes.
The ‘cancer taskforce’ for Yorkshire has been brought together by the charity Yorkshire Cancer Research, which has set itself the ambitious targets of spending £10m a year on research and avoiding 2,000 premature deaths annually by 2025.
It is the most common cancer in Yorkshire, with around 4,500 people diagnosed with the disease every year and 15 out of its 21 Clinical Commissioning Groups had incidence rates higher than the national average in 2013.
But yesterday it emerged that spending on smoking and tobacco control could be cut.
The charity’s chief executive Charles Rowett said there was a feeling that “the easy wins had been had” but there were still high levels of smoking in cities with high levels of social deprivation.
He added: “If we were to lose the cessation services it would be devastating because there is something like a 76 per cent success rate.”
Today the workshop concentrates on early diagnosis, which is key to helping more people survive.
Professor Una Macleod, Professor of Primary Care Medicine at the Hull York Medical School, said there was evidence that some smokers put up with symptoms because of the stigma attached to smoking and fear health professionals would tell them off.
Yorkshire has the third highest cancer incidence rates in England.