HEALTH chiefs have been told almost four out of ten cases of cancer are ‘potentially avoidable’ through lifestyle changes.

Jo McCullagh, a specialist registrar in public health, was tasked with doing a cancer joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) for the town.

She presented a report on it to the health and wellbeing board at the Town Hall on Thursday.

The document confirmed cancer is the largest killer in Warrington, accounting for nearly three out of every ten deaths across the borough.

But it said nearly four out of ten cancer cases are ‘potentially avoidable’ through changes in lifestyle behaviour, while half of all cancer deaths in Warrington are from tumour types linked to smoking, obesity, poor diet and unsafe alcohol consumption.

The four most common new cancer diagnoses in Warrington are breast, lung, prostate and colorectal cancers.

Incidence of lung cancer is significantly greater in the town compared to England – and the rate of new bowel cancers is also slightly higher than the national average.

Ms McCullagh told members there is a ‘greater risk’ of cancer in the central six wards of this borough so this shows the need to concentrate ‘prevention activities’ in those areas.

Those wards comprise Bewsey and Whitecross, Fairfield and Howley, Latchford East, Latchford West, Orford and Poplars and Hulme.

The report stated, over recent years, the gap in breast cancer mortality between Warrington and England has narrowed, however, deaths from lung cancer in the town remain significantly higher than experienced nationally.

Ms McCullagh said this might reflect the ‘historical trends’ of smoking in the borough.

She added: “We have seen advances in cancer treatment and quality services which has meant our survival rates have increased and three quarters of our cancer patients are alive a year after their diagnosis.”

The health and wellbeing board noted and endorsed the JSNA.