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Higher rates of cancer in North

Northerners are 20% more likely to die from cancer than people from other parts of the country, according to a report.

The National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) said higher rates of smoking and factors such as deprivation are likely to be behind the increased risk.

The figures, for 2005, showed there were 68 deaths per 100,000 men from lung cancer in the North compared with an average of 51 deaths across the whole of England.

Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire had the lowest rate of deaths from lung cancer, with about 36 men in every 100,000 dying from the disease.

Cancer deaths overall were lowest in the south of England and the Midlands.

Prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease in men across the country.

Breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women across the whole of the country, although rates were higher in the South than the North.

Professor David Forman, from the University of Leeds, said: "These figures show us that some of the past trends aren't changing - cancer death rates remain higher in the North than the rest of England. Smoking is responsible for nearly nine in 10 cases of lung cancer."

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