Saturday, 26 April 2014

Identifying cancer clusters - but not explaining

A new health atlas for Wales and England maps out various illnesses and diseases down to ward level. The maps show some surprising clusters and the high level of some cancers for parts of Wales is very worrying.
 Breast cancer, for example, is highest in North Wales and parts of Pembrokeshire.
 Skin cancer, by contrast, is far more of a problem in Cornwall and Devon.
 There may be a simple explanation - that these areas tend to have an older population and cancer is a more common problem among older people. There will also be environmental, industrial and other matters of personal health choices that cause spikes. What is clear is that for some cancers and other illnesses, Welsh communities are above the normal risk levels.
 Given this useful information, it seems logical that more health resources are needed to tackle these concentrations - whether they are in Oxfordshire, Cornwall or Gwynedd.
 But there doesn't seem to be any inclination from the UK Government that health care should be provided on the basis of need.

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