Council crackdown on breast cancer
Residents urged to take up healthy eating and stop smoking
Maldon and Burnham Standard, June 7 2001
by Rachel GoodAn action plan is being drawn up to reduce breast cancer deaths in Maldon, which has the highest rate in north Essex.
Maldon District council want the number of deaths caused by the disease cut by one third in less than nine years.
The plans will also aim to bring down deaths from other cancers by encouraging prevention before cure.
The council has set new targets after health authority figures revealed about 60 people die from breast cancer in Maldon per 100,000 people.
In north Essex as a whole the rate is almost half, about 34 deaths.
Maldon Council officers have said the figure is far too high and want to encourage residents to take up healthy eating and stop smoking to significantly lower the death rate by 2010. A new council report about health for residents said the Maldon district has the highest number of deaths from breast cancer dating from the most recent survey between 1995 and 1997.
This clearly should be a focus of health promotion and prevention to reduce the impact of risk factors, it said.
Dr. Paul Watson, director of health policy and public health at North Essex Health Authority, said the target would be used to encourage residents of Essex to get healthy to avoid the disease.
We believe that the best way to reduce cancer is by encouraging healthy lifestyles - such as quitting smoking, a healthy diet and by regular screening, he said.
He added that the statistics should not alarm district residents and would not be drawn on why death rates are higher in Maldon.
It is important to remember that cancer rates vary from year to year, on a random basis
The purpose of the health targets is to focus action on reducing avoidable deaths in cancer and other diseases.
Coronary heart disease and stroke related deaths are also to be tackled, with the council hoping to almost halve the mortality rate in the same time frame.
Death from all forms of cancer are about 151 for every 100,000 people. The target is to reduce this to 107 by 2010.
David Forster of MacMillan Cancer Relief said: We really welcome any efforts to increase awareness and lower the death rates
If people are aware earlier and get themselves screened it should really help, he said.
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