A WORRYING new report has found that Cumbria has the highest incidence rates of certain kinds of cancer in the North West.

According to data collated by charity North West Cancer Research, the county ranks 11 per cent higher on key cancers than the national average.

As part of the study, analysts assessed the impact of 25 key cancers across the North West and 37 cancers across Wales.

Of the cancers included in the project, the North West over-indexed on 14 cancers, highlighting stark contrasts between the national and regional pictures and demonstrating how those living across the region were more at risk of developing the disease.

North West England’s top three cancers were of the liver, lung, trachea and bronchus and oesophagus.

In Cumbria, cervical cancer rates are 35 per cent higher than the rest of the country, while colorectal cancer is 27 per cent more common in the region when compared to the national average.

Among the collated data, head and neck cancers were 21 per cent more common in Cumbria, while the county also had the highest rates of breast cancer in the region at nine per cent higher than both the national and regional average.

Across the North West, bladder cancer was recorded as an area of concern, with North Wales having a rate 18 per cent higher than the national average and communities across North West England showing a 13 per cent higher rate.

However, in North West England, incidence rates for cancers such as pancreatic, prostate and uterus, as well as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, were lower than the national average.

Graham Dring, Chair of Cumbria and Lancashire Asbestos Support Advice Group, said: "Barrow has had a higher incidence rates of lung cancer than other parts of the UK, owing mostly it seems to asbestos exposure in the shipyards.

Radiation exposure for Sellafields workers in the county may have also contributed."

North West Cancer Research has pledged to break the existing cancer patterns across the region and address the inequalities through vital, life-saving research.

“Our priority has always been to focus on what our region needs when it comes to tackling cancer and this data study validates our cause, highlighting a strong, somewhat alarming, pattern in incidence rates,” said the charity’s CEO Alastair Richards.

“There are clear differences in the number of people being diagnosed with certain cancers when compared to national averages and we’re extremely passionate about changing this through research projects and awareness campaigns.

“We strongly believe that a person’s chances of developing cancer should have little to nothing to do with where they live, therefore we’re committed to breaking such patterns in the North West.”

North West Cancer Research is calling on those living across the region to help champion its cause and lend their support to help fund vital research projects, including those that specifically address local needs.

“Over the last 20 years, we have invested more than £40 million in research projects that tackle the cause, improve the care and find the cure for cancer,” said Mr Richards.

“Our recent data analysis has cemented the reasoning for our fight to break cancer patterns in our region and we are confident that, together with the support of those living here and our new look, we will be able to create a cancer-free future."