Urban lifestyle 'increases lung cancer risk'
Article date: 25 April 2014
The chances of developing lung cancer are higher among individuals who live in England's biggest cities, new research has suggested.
A new 'health atlas' of the UK, launched today (April 25th), has revealed that people residing in London and big urban areas in the north of the country have an increased risk of contracting the illness than those living in more rural locations.
Produced by the UK Small Area Health Statistics at Imperial College London, the maps also show skin cancer is more common in the south-west of England, despite the fact the south-east of England has more hours of sunlight.
Scientists used existing health data to create the diagrams, which aim to give people living in England and Wales the chance to check the risk of developing 14 different illnesses and health conditions - such as common cancers and heart disease.
What's more, using the maps, members of the public are able to compare disease risks with maps detailing the environmental factors that influence them, including hours of sunlight and air pollution levels.
Although the diagrams cannot estimate an individual's chances of developing a given condition, they can be used to highlight the areas where the risk of contracting a disease is higher than the natural average.
The researchers suggested that by doing so, they had opened up avenues for research into the underlying issues causing illness in any local area.
Lead author Dr Anna Hansell told Sky News: "Ideally if we could measure things on every single person in the country we would do that, but we can't.
"By getting to something closer to where people live and work then we hope to understand a bit more about their exposures and how that might relate to health."
It is hoped the study's findings will signal more research into differences between parts of the UK and how certain issues affect the wellbeing of people living in those areas.