Stomach cancer rates higher in Liverpool

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Rates of stomach cancer in the city are 44% higher than the UK average. © JMU Journalism

Rates of stomach cancer in the city are 44% higher than the UK average. © JMU Journalism

Cases of stomach cancer in Liverpool are around 44% higher than the UK average, according to new research.

Fifteen people per 100,000 in the city are diagnosed with the disease with the national average standing at 8.8 per 100,000 people.

The study from North West Cancer Research (NWCR) found that the mortality rates for this form of cancer are also higher in Liverpool than any other city.

Dr Andrea Varro, one of the researchers at NWCR, told JMU Journalism: “Stomach cancer rates are higher than the national average in Liverpool, which is down to many factors which includes genetics, as well as lifestyle choices.

“High levels of mortality associated with this type of cancer, could be down to late diagnosis, which is why early detection is so important. Early detection could change gastric cancers into curable diseases.”

Gastric cancer is the 10th most common cause of cancer deaths, with 8,000 people diagnosed across the country every year.

Michael Potts, NWCR chairman, believes that it is “absolutely critical” that the charity continues to fund innovative ways of dealing with cancer within Liverpool and the North West due to having some of the highest incidences of cancer nationwide. Potts said “charities like NWCR have the scale and influence to help with this mission.”

To mark the opening of NWCR’s new headquarters and the Clatterbridge Clinic at the University of Liverpool campus on London Road, the charity has announced that it will invest £2 million into research into various forms of cancer.

Researchers from NWCR, in conjunction with the University of Liverpool, are in the testing stages of a a blood test they are developing to identify cancer cells within early symptoms.

If successful, the project, led by Dr Varro, could help identify early stages of stomach cancer, meaning that patients can receive treatment quicker and have more chance of fighting the disease.

NWCR has funded over £28 million of research projects to help improve their understanding of cancer, and the diagnosis and treatment given to cancer patients.

Dr Varro also urged Liverpool residents to seek medical advice of they notice possible symptoms of cancer.

She added: “Go early to your GP if you have any symptoms such as pain, heartburn, indigestion, problem with swallowing, since early detection is the answer to survive stomach and oesophageal cancer.”

About Samantha Gaulter-Green, JMU Journalism