Cancer cases in Portsmouth could be prevented if people had healthier lifestyles.
National figures from Cancer Research UK show some cancer-related deaths were preventable and caused by unhealthy choices like smoking and obesity.
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond met the charity and was told the city is above average for the number of people who smoke and suffer with obesity.
The charity said nearly 22 per cent of people in Portsmouth smoke, against an England average of 18 per cent, and smoking-related deaths is also above the England average of 289 per 100,000 with 341 per 100,000. As previously reported in The News a quarter of all adults are obese with 19 per cent of the city’s schoolchildren also overweight.
Mrs Drummond said: ‘Where 40 per cent of cancer cases can be prevented through healthier lifestyle, it is imperative that we raise awareness of the fact that an unhealthy lifestyle is one of the single biggest risks in developing cancer.’
She said that if Portsmouth could kick its smoking habit and adopt healthier diets, it could stop nearly 40 per cent of preventable cancer cases, although Cancer Research UK says this figures varies due to local population behaviours.
Mrs Drummond added: ‘That was the clear message from my meeting with Cancer Research UK.
‘There are around 980 cancer cases and around 460 deaths due to cancer each year in Portsmouth.’
Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for public health at Portsmouth City Council, said the authority has lots of schemes to help people lead healthier lives. They include supporting national campaigns like ‘Stoptober’ as well as initiatives in the city.
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘Even one person dying prematurely from an illness or disease they could have helped prevent by leading a healthier life is unnecessary.
‘We’re doing a lot of work to educate and encourage healthier behaviours. Our Wellbeing Service offers free support to help Portsmouth residents quit smoking, drink less alcohol, eat well and move more. It’s important to recognise the role of physical activity in maintaining a healthy weight.
‘The Wellbeing Service is available at venues across the city and includes one-to-one support, drop-in sessions and organised group activities.’
Cllr Stubbs added: ‘We work alongside local initiatives, for example Food Portsmouth which brings together people around the city to help promote healthy eating, encourage local growing projects and provide support to people to buy, cook and eat a healthy diet.
‘With smoking, we’ve been running a Peer Educator programme in schools where pupils provide support to others to quit smoking.
‘We’re also working closely with maternity services to reduce smoking in pregnant women.’
Anyone looking for support be heathier should search One You at portsmouth.gov.uk.