SIRC – Media Watch 30-04-99
Arguably a more tangible cancer risk than the pill was highlighted this week by the Cancer Research Campaign, that of poverty. The report suggested that 12,700 deaths could have been avoided between 1986 and 1990 if inequalities in cancer care did not exist in England and Wales. Comparing cancer survival rates, the study found that England and Wales fared unfavourably with Europe and the US, but the most affluent regions of these two countries exhibited similar figures to the European average. In an attempt to counter this disparity the government have announced plans for the provision of 'Health Action Zones' which seeks to encourage greater co-operation between health and social services targeting both rural and inner city areas. The emphasis of this new scheme however appears to focus on inadequacies within health education in these areas rather than attacking the broader issues of social inequality.