Cancer deaths fall in Sheffield but ‘work needed’ to meet national average

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The number of people dying from cancer is falling in Sheffield – but the city’s death rate is still above the national average, new figures reveal.

The statistics show that, in the decade to 2013, deaths from cancer among under-75s dropped by more than five per cent in Sheffield.

But nationally the mortality rate fell by 14.7 per cent, meaning more people are dying from the disease in Sheffield than in other areas of the country.

Fewer people are also dying of cancer elsewhere in South Yorkshire. In Barnsley deaths dropped by more than a quarter, while Rotherham’s mortality rate fell by a fifth. Doncaster’s death rate has decreased by over 14 per cent.

Dr Jeremy Wight, Sheffield’s director of public health, said the city had a ‘particular problem’ with the number of people developing cancers linked to working in heavy industry, as well as a high number of smokers.

He said: “Smoking is by far and away the biggest single, and avoidable, cause of cancer and death in general – it’s still a big problem.”

Dr Wight added there was a need to diagnose more patients earlier and to tackle the sale of illegal tobacco, which help to get children hooked on cigarettes.

“Once people get into the treatment system, they get as good a level of care in Sheffield as elsewhere in the country,” said Dr Wight.

“We need to emphasise the importance of a healthy lifestyle as well as doing work to make sure people from disadvantaged backgrounds in particular take prompt action when they start to have symptoms.”

In 2003, 659 people aged under 75 died of cancer in Sheffield, while last year 666 were killed by the disease.