The Liverpool Cancer Inequalities Research Network (LCIRN) was formed in April 2015 to explore and understand how the conditions that people live and work in affect their chances of getting cancer and their outcomes once they have been diagnosed with cancer.

For example, Liverpool’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment – Cancer report in 2016 highlighted that there are nearly twice the number of cancer deaths in Kirkdale, which is a deprived area, compared to the affluent area of Childwall.

Cancer rate merseyside

We want to explore the reasons behind these differences by looking at the ways in which environmental, cultural, social and institutional factors interact to create inequalities in cancer outcomes.

Inequalities are differences (e.g. in income, health status, social conditions) between groups of people that are the result of policies and processes that can be changed, and that we feel should be changed. For example, are people from disadvantaged areas more likely to be exposed to air pollution or chemicals at work that could increase their risk of developing cancer? Are the financial costs associated with cancer treatment (e.g. loss of income, transport to treatment, extra heating costs) greater for people on low incomes? Do people from different social backgrounds use cancer services differently? Are there historical reasons for higher rates of cancers in more disadvantaged areas?

In LCIRN, we bring together people with different interests in and concerns about cancer. We have representatives from universities, Liverpool City Council, the NHS, charities and members of the public. Some of these relationships have been established for the first time. We will use these many skills to understand why cancer outcomes are worse in some parts of Liverpool and the region, and better in others, and make recommendations for how to reduce these differences.

We wish to thank the following for their financial support of LCIRN: NWCR-UoL Cancer Research Centre; North West Cancer Research Charity, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Department of Public Health and Policy, University of Liverpool, Liverpool Health Partners.

Image of Sarah Coupland, Sue Povall and Nigel Lanceley