Antony Gormley’s iconic sculptures at Crosby Beach have this week been joined by a collection of new ‘neighbours’, as North West Cancer Research launches a campaign to highlight the cancer inequalities in the region.
The charity, which is dedicated to prioritising the cancer needs of people living in the North West and North Wales, has created six temporary versions of the famous figures, whose bodies are emblazoned with stats relating to the shocking rates of five common cancers across the region.
The new additions are in place alongside one of Gormley’s real statues looking out to the horizon, standing in solidarity on the path to a cancer-free future.
As a region, the North West has significantly higher rates of cancer when compared with the rest of the country.
North West Cancer Research’s latest campaign ‘Cancer Has No Place in Our Home’ has been launched to highlight these inequalities and show communities what it is doing to stamp them out.
These inequalities includes a number of stark differences in incidences of specific cancers in each of the region’s counties, five of which are today immortalised alongside the iron men on Crosby beach.
In Liverpool City Region, there is a 26% higher rate of bladder cancer being diagnosed, compared with the national average, while people living in Greater Manchester are 21% more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer.
Residents in Cheshire are 20% more likely to be given a diagnosis of skin cancer than the national average, while ovarian cancer is 24% more likely for those in Lancashire.
And, in Cumbria, colon cancer rates are 21% higher than the rest of the country.
North West Cancer Research is dedicated to tackling these inequalities by educating communities on how to spot the signs and investing in life-saving research that tackles the specific cancers that affect the region the most.
Alastair Richards, CEO of North West Cancer Research, said: “Across the North West, we consistently see a pattern of people being affected by cancer more than their counterparts in other parts of the country.
“As a charity that is dedicated to the cancer needs of people living in our region, we are constantly monitoring cancer rates across our counties and, sadly, some of the inequalities are striking.
“Our mission is to find new ways to improve the care for our communities and ultimately find a cure for cancer. In order to make progress, we are shining a light on some of our region’s complex and multifaceted issues. Cancer as a disease can seem broad and arbitrary, but the challenges it poses can be localised.
“By better understanding the challenges being faced at a community level, we can spot where further research is needed and identify what evidence-led interventions each location needs.”
North West Cancer Research is calling on the region to support the charity’s mission in creating a cancer-free future and eradicate the disease from the place they call home.
Alastair added: “We must ask ourselves why should where you live impact the likelihood of developing a potentially life-threatening disease?
“It shouldn’t and, ultimately, our goal is to ensure that we create a cancer-free future for future generations in the North West.
“Until then though, we need the support of local people – today we are making a very clear statement that cancer has no place in our home and that we stand with our communities in improving the research and the care that is needed when dealing with the disease.”