Despite the number of lung cancer death rates falling, almost 5,000 people die each year in the North West.
Since 1979 there have been nearly 500,000 fewer deaths in men in the UK than would have been expected if the mortality rate had stayed the same.
And in the last 40 years lung cancer death rates in men have dropped by nearly 60%.
Despite this progress, in the North West around 2,500 men and around 2,300 women still die from lung cancer every year and it is still the most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
That’s why Cancer Research UK is calling on people across the region to help save more lives by wearing one of the charity’s Unity Bands on World Cancer Day.
Making a donation for the brightly coloured wristband will raise funds for vital cancer research which will help give people more precious time with their loved ones.
Alison Barbuti, Cancer Research UK spokesman for the North West, said: “Following on from decades of research it’s fantastic to see the number of men dying from lung cancer in the UK falling year on year.
“Cancer Research UK helped prove the link between tobacco and cancer and the reduction in the number of people who smoke has prevented millions of deaths worldwide.
“This World Cancer Day it’s important to celebrate how much things have improved, but also to renew our commitment to saving the lives of more people with cancer. More still needs to be done to bring down the number of people affected by lung cancer and develop better and kinder treatments.
“Thanks to donations from people in the North West the charity can continue to invest in research to keep fighting this devastating disease. That’s why we hope people across the region will wear a Unity Band with pride, knowing they are helping to beat cancer.”
Research led to the crucial discovery that smoking caused lung cancer half way through the last century.
Since then growing public awareness of the dangers of tobacco, and subsequent regulations like the smoking ban and advertising restrictions, have helped to halt its fatal impact.
An increase in the number of people having access to treatment, especially surgery, has also contributed to the falling death rate.
Smoking rates for women peaked decades later than they did for men. As a result, lung cancer death rates for women only started to fall in the UK in 2008. Since then they have dropped by 3%.
Smoking remains the single biggest cause of lung cancer, responsible for 72% of cases in the UK.
And in the North West today 18% of men and 15% of women smoke.
On February 4, World Cancer Day aims to raise awareness of cancer and to promote its prevention, detection and treatment.
Alison added: “World Cancer Day is a great opportunity for people in the North West to unite and show solidarity with everyone whose life has been touched by the disease.
“We’re working every day to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. But we can’t do it alone.
“By donating just £2 for a Unity Band, people in the North West can help more men, women and children survive.”
Last year, Cancer Research UK spent over £28 million in the North West on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
Unity Bands are available in pink, navy or blue from all Cancer Research UK shops across the North West and online at www.cruk.org/worldcancerday