A FIVE-year draft strategy to tackle cancer rates in South Tyneside has been endorsed by health chiefs.
The borough has the highest death rates from the disease in the North East and is ranked 146th worst out of the 150 local authority areas in the country.
On average, residents in the borough die eight years earlier than those living in other parts of England.
Despite the ongoing challenge, significant progress has been made in the last decade with considerable improvements in the management of the borough’s two biggest killers, lung cancer – which is largely due to the high number of people who smoke – and colon cancer.
A series of targets have been identified over the next five years to continue that improvement.
They include identifying those sections of the population where the uptake in screening for certain cancers are low, carrying out a review over access to radiotherapy services, reviewing the current spend on cancer services and launching healthy eating and exercise campaigns.
Health chiefs also intend to carry out a cancer audit across the whole borough in order to identify at-risk communities.
The strategy has been commended by three of the borough’s senior health bosses – Lorraine Lambert, chief executive of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust; Amanda Healy, the council’s director of public health and Dr David Hambleton, chief officer with South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group.
A report to the council’s health and wellbeing board says: “Appropriate prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation and support services will be required to address the changing cancer agenda.
“South Tyneside’s cancer strategy maps out key priorities and actions for improving the quality of cancer care over the next five years.”