CANCER rates in middle-aged men and women in Yorkshire have increased dramatically.

The bad news was released this morning to highlight the launch of Cancer Research UK’s hard-hitting advertising campaign.

The Yorkshire rates are now higher than the national average for England, with nine women and six men in their 40s and 50s being diagnosed every day.

Across Great Britain, cancer rates for middle-aged men and women have gone up nearly 20% over the last 30 years – an increase of 17,000 cases a year.

Back in 1979, almost 20,000 men were diagnosed every year but latest figures show that almost 24,000 are now diagnosed annually. However, the biggest increase is in middle-aged women, where rates have risen by more than 25% in the same time period.

The increasing number of people being diagnosed with cancer is, in part, due to the NHS breast screening programme and the PSA test for prostate cancer.

Screening will detect more cancers at an earlier stage and this means treatment is more likely to be successful. Lifestyle factors, such as drinking alcohol, smoking and being overweight, can also increase the risk of developing some types of cancer.

But despite the alarming increase in people getting cancer, there is some good news.

Survival rates have doubled since the 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been vital to that progress.

As Cancer Research UK launches its new national TV advertising campaign, featuring real cancer survivors and their families, its message to people in Yorkshire is clear – more money is urgently needed to help save more lives.