People across the South West are being urged to show their support for World Cancer Day today (February 4) as Cancer Research UK releases new figures revealing that cancer death rates in the region have fallen by 9 per cent over the last 10 years.
The charity is encouraging everyone in the region to wear a Unity Band or make a donation to demonstrate their support for people affected by cancer.
The Unity Band is made of two parts, knotted together, to represent strength in unity. They are available for a suggested donation of £2 from all Cancer Research UK shops and at www.cruk.org/worldcancerday
Every day, 84 people in the South West are diagnosed with cancer.
In 2003, 299 in every 100,000 people in the South West died from the disease. Thanks to research improving outcomes for patients, this fell overall by around 10 per cent to 273 people per 100,000 in 2013.
Research has proved to be the key factor in reducing the number of lives lost to cancer, with improved knowledge about preventing the disease, surgical techniques, precisely targeted radiotherapy and more effective drugs all boosting the outcome for patients.
Death rates show that the proportion of people in the UK who are dying of cancer has fallen dramatically even though more people are being diagnosed with the disease. The rising number of diagnoses is largely due to the UK’s ageing population and cancer being more common in older people.
But it’s not all good news. For some cancers, such as liver and pancreatic, the rates of people dying from the disease have increased over the last decade.
Alison Birkett, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the South West, said: “Today, on World Cancer Day, it’s important to remember that even though the death rates are falling, the overall number of people dying from cancer is expected to increase. This is because the population is growing and more of us are living longer. Too many people are still being diagnosed with and dying from cancer, not just here in the region, but across the UK and around the globe.
“World Cancer Day provides an opportunity for people in our region, all across the UK and beyond, to ‘band together’ for this one special day and show that united we can beat cancer sooner.
“Thanks to research more people are surviving cancer than ever – but there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that more families can stay together for longer.
“Wearing a Unity Band is a simple way to show your support and be part of the generation that transforms the lives of the millions of people affected by cancer. Together we can all do something to reduce the impact of this devastating disease.”
To create a bigger impact for this World Cancer Day this year, Cancer Research UK has joined forces with leading cancer charities - Breast Cancer Care, Anthony Nolan and the Movember Foundation - to unite the UK and help transform the lives of millions of people affected by the disease.
Collectively the four charities support millions of people every year through their individual work in the prevention, detection, treatment and support of those affected by cancer.
The bands are available from each charity in their own colours and all money raised from the Unity Bands will go towards the charities’ individual research projects and support services.