Issues of concern

Cancer is one of the biggest causes of death, and accounts for about 38% of all deaths in the under 75’s of Brighton and Hove- 266 premature deaths in 2010.

Around 1,150 people in the city are diagnosed with cancer each year; of these, over half are for the four main cancers (210 female breast, 135 prostate, 150 lung and 140 colorectal cancers). These cancers are also responsible for about half the premature deaths (75 from lung cancer, 26 from breast cancer, 23 from colorectal cancer and 6 from prostate cancer).

Incidence and mortality from cancer is considerably higher amongst the more deprived groups, largely due to lifestyle factors, such as higher smoking rates.  The mortality gap between the poorest groups and the most affluent appears to be widening.

Despite improvements in cancer treatments, and mortality in recent decades, outcomes in the UK are poor compared to the best in Europe.

The death rate amongst the under 75’s in the city is higher than the national death rate. At a national level, this rate has been steadily decreasing, but this is not the case in Brighton and Hove, where the decline has been very small.

Brighton and Hove has poorer survival rates than England, although they are gradually improving.  Locally relative survival rates are particularly poor for colorectal and lung cancers.

Prevention of cancer is as important as treatment.  Tobacco smoking remains the single most important avoidable cause of cancer, followed by diet, excess weight and alcohol consumption.  Together, these four account for about 34% of all cancers.

Cancer screening also saves lives. It is estimated that in England every year cervical screening saves 4,500 lives and breast screening 1,400; and that regular bowel cancer screening reduces the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16%. Despite the introduction of a national target in the mid 1990s the cancer mortality rate in the under 75s in Brighton & Hove has been slow to decline. Increasing the up-take of NHS cancer screening programmes will contribute to reducing cancer mortality.

In 2010/11:

  • Bowel cancer screening up-take was lower in Brighton and Hove (53%) than in England (57 %).
  • Cervical cancer screening coverage (the percentage of eligible women recorded as screened at least once in the previous five years) was lower in Brighton & Hove (76%) than England (79%).
  • Breast cancer screening coverage (the percentage of eligible women screened in the previous three years) in Brighton and Hove (71%) was lower than England (77%).