In 2010, approximately 325,000 people were diagnosed with cancer and around 157,275 people died from the disease and nationally cancer was the biggest killer in this country in 2011 and 2012. Around one in three people will develop cancer at some point in their lives and it causes around one in four deaths. Cancer is largely preventable and there is a significant focus locally on the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer.

It is estimated that more than four in 10 cancer cases could be prevented by lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, cutting back on alcohol, maintaining a healthy body weight, and avoiding excessive sun exposure (Parkin et al 2010). Given that there is an ageing population within Knowsley and cancer is predominantly a disease of ageing it is expected that the number of new cases of cancer each year will increase in the future.

In Knowsley, based on GP registers (Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)) for 2013-14, the prevalence of cancer (the number of people who have cancer at this time) was 2.3%; i.e. about 1 in 43 people have cancer compared with 2.1% nationally, i.e. 1 in 48 people.

The health of people in Knowsley is generally worse than the England average with life expectancy being 10.0 years lower for men and 7.7 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Knowsley than in the least deprived areas.

Cancer incidence is the number or rate (per head of population) of new cases of cancer diagnosed in a given population in a defined time period (in this case a year), this does not include secondary cancers or recurrences. Knowsley has the 6th highest incidence for the 75 years + age group in the country for all cancers combined and the 12th highest for the 0-74 age group. Incidence in 75 years+ age group for all cancers combined is six times higher than the 0-74 age group.

There were 2,375 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Knowsley between 2010 and 2012 (about 790 per year). Of these 1,031 related to males (circa 344 per year). The rate of cancer incidence for males was 772.9 per 100,000 males in 2010-12, an increase of 8% since 2001-03. There were more new cases of prostate cancer than any other type of male cancer in 2010-12, responsible for 20% of all new cases of cancer.

For further reading the cancer JSNA can be found here: Cancer JSNA