Burnley has a 40% higher mortality rate for cancer than the rest of the country’s average.
That shocking statistic has prompted Macmillan Cancer Support to invest £1m. in East Lancashire over the next three years in a bid to transform cancer care.
The charity wants to spearhead a new information service and pilot physical activities.
It will also work with every one of the 90 GP practices in the area to bring early signs of the illness to the fore, aid early diagnosis and improve follow-up care for patients after they have the appropriate treatment.
East Lancashire Hospitals Trust and Blackburn with Darwen Council are both involved in the project. The cancer mortality rate in Burnley is higher than the national average and there are 10% more cancer diagnoses than the rest of the country.
Figures collated by Public Health England reveal Burnley had a mortality rate of 205 per 100,000. Nationally the figure is 146. The latest figure for cancer cases is 445, the national average is 391.
Health experts believe the numbers can be accounted for in three ways – how soon people go to their doctor with symptoms, lifestyles such as exercise and smoking, and post-treatment care – all of which will be the main focus of the forthcoming work.
The charity’s link with the hospital trust is set to develop a support package so cancer patients will be able to take charge of their own care when treatment ends, and ensure they stay healthy.
Breast cancer sufferers will be the first patients involved, with changes to support and follow up processes, including having a phone hotline and health and wellbeing clinics. It is hoped community care will help people affected by cancer live a full and healthy life before, during and after treatment through a physical activity programme, with information and both practical and emotional support.
Jeremy Such, Macmillan Development Manager for Lancashire, said: “The project will provide better care and support for people affected by cancer at every stage, from the moment of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.
“We want to improve outcomes for patients and deliver a better patient experience so no one faces cancer alone.”