WOMEN in Birchwood and Whittle Hall are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer than their neighbours in Poulton or Great Sankey according to a new health map.
The Environmental Health Atlas has revealed a postcode lottery when it comes to lung cancer and heart disease for men and women while women from across the town were deemed to be in the highest risk group for liver cancer.
But Warrington Borough Council’s public health team has said the health map’s data does not reflect the same patterns they expect due to the way it has been calculated.
A spokesman added: “Individual risk will depend on other factors including genetic susceptibility, lifestyle and whether they have other medical conditions.
“From local data on incidence of new cancers and from information on the numbers of people dying from various cancers, we do know that there is variation within Warrington.
“For example for lung cancer, the major risk factor is cigarette smoking, which causes around nine in every ten cases of lung cancer. “Locally, therefore, it is not surprising that the wards with the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality rates, such as Bewsey and Whitecross and Poplars and Hulme, are those wards that have highest prevalence of cigarette smoking.”
The public health team have been targeting areas to help promote the messages around reducing risk for lung and liver cancer which is often associated with alcohol consumption and obesity.
The spokesman added: “While there are certain hereditary and environmental factors that might increase an individual’s risk of developing cancer, there is much we can do in terms of lifestyle behaviours to lower the risk.
“Stopping smoking is the single most effective thing an individual can do to help reduce their risk of developing cancer and latest guidance says men should not regularly exceed three to four units of alcohol per day, (two to three units per day for women) and everyone should aim to have two to three days per week that are drink free.
“Being overweight or obese and having a sedentary lifestyle can also increase an individual’s risk of developing a range of health problems.”
Residents are also urged to attend smear tests, breast or bowel screenings when they are invited as the ‘quicker cancer is picked up the better the chance of surviving and living a longer healthier life’.
Visit warringtonpublichealth.org.uk for help and support quitting smoking, drinking or tips for a healthier lifestyle.