CASES of breast cancer in Cheshire are 24 per cent above the national average, according to data collated by North West Cancer Research.

A number of concerning trends were identified by the charity, which is dedicated to prioritising the cancer needs of people living in the North West and North Wales.

Its 2023 regional report states that three of the five counties in the North West recorded above average breast cancer rates, with Cheshire (24%) being by far the most affected. The next two counties with the highest rates are Merseyside (8%) and Cumbria (5%).

The North West was found to have over-indexed on 15 of the 19 key cancers assessed in the study. Residents in the North West are 25 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than in the rest of the UK.

Overall, Cheshire's cancer incidence rate is 15 per cent higher than the national average. The top five most prevalent cancers in Cheshire are:

  • Leukaemia: 24% above the national average.
  • Skin: 32% above the national average.
  • Kidney: 27% above the national average.
  • Breast: 24% above the national average.
  • Oesophageal: 22% above the national average.

Chester and District Standard: North West Cancer Research can provide help and support for those living with cancer.North West Cancer Research can provide help and support for those living with cancer. (Image: North West Cancer Research)

The overall incidence rates for cancer in Cheshire and the North West have remained above the national average every year since North West Cancer Research’s inaugural regional report in 2020.

The report illustrates how regional inequalities are putting the residents of these areas at an increased risk of developing cancer.

North West Cancer Research continues to investigate the connections between high levels of deprivation and correspondingly high levels of cancer in order to achieve the goal of cancer-free communities.

Alastair Richards, North West Cancer Research CEO, said: "Cheshire is a place unlike any other, with world-leading people, places, culture, and creativity around every corner. Sadly, its cancer landscape is also markedly distinct, with communities here facing a number of serious challenges which require urgent, localised attention.

"By annually assessing the cancer challenges in Cheshire and across the North West at a granular level, we’ve been able to identify the most acute issues facing the region. This has highlighted that not only is Cheshire well behind the national average in many areas, but its cancer rates are remaining stubbornly static.

"This strongly suggests that Cheshire, and the North West as a whole, is facing an entrenched problem. To resolve this, we must better understand the region’s complex and multifaceted issues which are closely connected with high levels of deprivation. This clear correlation highlights the fact that more targeted, community-level support is needed which addresses both the societal as well as medical aspects of cancer."

'Lifestyle related' cancers - lung, liver, kidney, stomach, and skin - show the most alarming regional disparities, highlighting the role that socio-economic factors play in the North West's health expectations.

Alastair added: "The prospect of being diagnosed with cancer should not be connected to a person’s postcode. This is why we’re committed to supporting research projects and awareness campaigns that break the link between where someone lives and their likelihood of developing cancer.

"Many of the challenges cancer poses are very specific and localised. Understanding how it’s affecting people at a community level is an important part of identifying where further research is needed and what evidence-led interventions a location needs."

Since 2000, North West Cancer Research has invested more than £45 million in research projects to find new cures and improve care for anyone in the North West coping with cancer as well as preventative awareness campaigns that address cancer inequalities.

For further information about North West Cancer Research, visit, or to read the full 2023 North West Regional Report here.