Cancer rates - the full picture
A STRATHFOYLE community worker has called for an inquiry into possible links between heavy industry and cancer as the Sentinel website today reveals all of the local statistics, showing two of the most industrialised areas of Londonderry had the highest cancer rates in the city between 2007 and 2009.
Eamon O’Donnell of Enagh Youth Forum said he was shocked and alarmed by the statistics revealed in today’s paper which show that 108 people were diagnosed with cancer in the Enagh Ward between 2007 and 2009.
Only in Culmore - directly across the River Foyle from the heavily industrialised Strathfoyle and Maydown area - was there a higher cancer rate with 139 incidences. Twenty-nine people died in Culmore and 25 died in Enagh during the 2008-2010 period. The Sentinel can reveal the highest cancer death rates across Londonderry by Ward. The figures are: Altnagelvin 30; Ballynashallog 30; Brandywell 29; Culmore 29; Pennyburn 29; Strand 27; Clondermot 25; Enagh 25; Holly Mount 25; New Buildings 22; Lisnagelvin 21; Crevagh 21; Ebrington 20; Carn Hill 20; Caw 19; Eglinton 19; Westland 19; Victoria 18; Beechwood 18; The Diamond 17; Kilfennan 16; Rosemount 16; Creggan Central 14; Shantallow West 13; Creggan South 12; Shantallow East 11; and Springtown 11.
The highest incidences of cancer were in: Culmore 139; Enagh 108; Clondermot 106; Altnagelvin 102; Ballynashallog 102; Pennyburn 101; Shantallow West 101; Lisnagelvin 91; Foyle Spring 86; Victoria 86; Beechwood 85; Eglinton 84; Strand 78; Ebrington 75; Crevagh 75; New Buildings 73; Caw 72; Brandywell 69; Holly Mount 67; Westland 66; Kilfennan 66; Creggan Central 61; Carn Hill 59; Rosemount 58; Springtown 58; Creggan South 49; and The Diamond 48.
Mr O’Donnell said the figures raised a number of issues for the people of Culmore and Strathfoyle which now needed to be urgently addressed.
“Is there any correlation between the highest incidents of cancer in these areas and the fact that both communities live in or adjacent to the most industrialised area of the city?” he asked.
“Unless and until this question is answered entirely to both communities satisfaction we at Enagh Youth Forum call for the following action steps to be taking as a matter of urgency on our behalf: A full and comprehensive Health Impact Study be carried out in both areas forthwith in order to establish if there is a link with living in these areas and the high incidents of cancer and if not to establish what else could possibly be causing these high incidents of cancer in these two communities. We need answers now!” he said.
Mr O’Donnell also called for the NI Planning Service to “put on hold all current and pending applications for further industrial development in this zone until this very serious issue is clarified and our communities re-assured.”
He added: “Enagh Youth Forum call’s on Derry City Council, MLAs, and MPs to act on their constituents behalf and to pursue their best interests and ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted into this issue. Both communities have suffered long enough, a fact that has been borne out in light of these shocking recent statistics.”
Mr O’Donnell also pointed to the higher than average number of deaths in Enagh which are due to respiratory illness.
In Londonderry generally 16 per cent of deaths were due to respiratory illness in 2007-9. But in Enagh the death rate was considerably higher at 23.5 per cent.
Whilst the cancer rate at Culmore and Enagh is higher than anywhere else the prevalence of cancer right across the city is worrying.
The Sentinel today reveals that between 2008 and 2010 575 people in the city (roughly one in 188) have died from cancer. And between 2007 and 2009 2,212 (one in 50) have been diagnosed with the illness.
Karen Mullan of Londonderry’s Pink Ladies organisation said: “These figures show the high number not only of incidents but of deaths within the city and further highlights the importance of having the radiotherapy unit based at Altnagelvin alongside all the services needed to support cancer patients and their families.
“The earlier that cancer is detected the more treatable and greater chance of survival, the Pink Ladies are testimony to that, we would encourage all men and women to be aware of the bodies, check for change, attend regular screening and contact your doctor immediately if you find any change,” she added
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Weather for Londonderry
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west