A SHOCK report has revealed a marked North-South divide in the number of people developing lung cancer, with this region having one of the worst rates of the illness.
Findings released by leading health charity the British Lung Foundation highlight people living in the most deprived areas of the UK are nearly three times more likely to get lung cancer than those living in the most affluent areas.
The Lost Lives report, which maps the lung cancer epidemic across the UK, shows the highest rates of the disease are in the North East with the lowest rates in the South Central and South West Health Authority area.
Newcastle Primary Care Trust (PCT) has the fifth highest number of lung cancer cases in the country, closely followed by South of Tyne and Wear PCT and Gateshead PCT, which are eighth and ninth worst.
The report says the variation in lung cancer incidence is due to the higher rates of smoking in lower socio-economic groups.