A new study has revealed significant regional differences in cancer morbidity in England.
The research, carried out by the Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and the Mathematical Sciences faculty of the University of Southampton identified morbidity trends and regional differences in England for all-cancer and type-specific incidence between 1981 and 2016.
The analysis found that all-cancer rates have increased significantly, with the highest increase in the East, North West and North East. The absolute difference between the rates in the highest- and lowest-incidence region has widened from 39 per 100,000 to 86 per 100,000 people for females and from 94 per 100,000 to 116 per 100,000 for males.
Lung cancer incidence for females showed the highest increase in Yorkshire and the Humber, whereas for males, it declined in all regions, with the highest decrease in London.
The gap between the highest and lowest incidence region for females widened from 47 per 100,000 people to 94 per 100,000 people.
Temporal change in bowel cancer risk was less manifested, with regional heterogeneity also declining.
Prostate cancer incidence increased, with the highest increase in London, and the regional gap expanded from 33 per 100,000 people to 76 per 100,000 people during the study period. For breast cancer incidence, the highest increase occurred in the North East, while the regional variation showed a less discernible increase.
The analysis reveals that there are important regional differences in the incidence of all-type and type-specific cancers, and that most of these regional differences become more pronounced over time.
Presenting the study in PloS One, the authors say the findings may point towards underlying socioeconomic regional differences, while also reflect changing demographic dynamics.