CHARITY bosses have announced a new £1 million fund to boost cancer care in East Lancashire, in a bid to tackle some of the worst ‘death rates’ for the condition in England.

The Macmillan charity has teamed up with the NHS to launch a three-year improvement programme, which promises to involve all 90 doctors’ surgeries in the area.

It comes after new figures revealed the number of premature cancer deaths in Burnley and Hyndburn were well above the national average between 2010 and 2012.

The under-75s cancer mortality rate for Burnley was the second highest in the North West, at 205 per 100,000. Hyndburn’s rate was 174 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 146 per 100,000.

The ‘Cancer Service Redesign’ for East Lancashire is among of the first of its kind, as only a handful of other ‘hotspot’ boroughs have so far received funding from the charity.

The cash will be spent on increasing cancer awareness and diagnosis among GPs, to ensure the disease is caught at an earlier stage in more cases.

It will also be focused on boosting screening rates and offering extra support to patients once their treatment has finished.

Jeremy Such, Macmillan’s development manager for Lancashire, said: “I’m very excited about this partnership and the project we’re undertaking to transform cancer care in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen.

“The project will provide better care and support for people affected by cancer at every stage, from the moment of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.

“We want to improve outcomes for patients and deliver a better patient experience so that no one faces cancer alone.”

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