THE incidence rate of oesophageal cancer is 67 per cent higher in Denbighshire compared to the rest of the country.

That's according to data collated by North West Cancer Research.

The charity, which is dedicated to prioritising the cancer needs of people living in the North West and North Wales, has identified a number of concerning trends among the region’s cancer rates as part of a wider report.

All six counties in North Wales recorded above average rates of oesophageal cancer, with Conwy being the most affected at a 201 per cent higher incidence rate.

Denbighshire (67 per cent) was the second most affected county in the region, with Anglesey (19 per cent) the third.

The study assessed the impact of 37 key cancers across North Wales, of which the region was found to have over-indexed on 22.

Residents in North Wales and the North West of England are 25 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than in the rest of the UK.

The three most prevalent recorded cancers across North Wales are prostate, breast and lung cancer.

The population in North Wales also records high incidence rates of colorectal, colon and uterine cancer.

Some communities across North Wales face particularly acute cancer challenges. In Denbighshire, rates of breast cancer are 33 per cent higher than the national average.

Anglesey recorded high case levels of both stomach and pancreatic cancers at 51 and 47 per cent over the national average respectively.

Conwy recorded the highest prevalence of stomach cancer at 61 per cent above the national average, while Anglesey and Gwynedd saw 32 and 23 per cent above average total death rates for pancreatic cancer.

Gwynedd and Flintshire recorded 34 and 26 per cent higher total death rates for stomach cancer.


Denbighshire Free Press: Incidence rate of oesophageal cancer is 67 per cent higher in Denbighshire compared to the rest of the countryIncidence rate of oesophageal cancer is 67 per cent higher in Denbighshire compared to the rest of the country


The research links the disproportionate cancer rates with significant levels of inequality in the area.

North West Cancer Research’s report shows that communities in North Wales face significantly higher rates of deprivation than the national average. Although Denbighshire exhibits low levels of income deprivation, it sits close to Flintshire and Gwynedd, which recorded 25 and 19 per cent higher than average levels of income deprivation respectively.

Cancer rates in North Wales have remained largely static for several years.

From 2020 to 2021 the rate of total cancer deaths remained essentially the same, decreasing from 283.95 per 100,000 people to 272.9.

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: “By assessing the cancer challenges in North Wales at a granular level, we’ve been able to identify the most acute issues facing the region.

"Unfortunately, this has also shown that not only is North Wales falling well behind the national average in many areas but the static nature of the cancer rates proves that this is an entrenched problem that requires urgent attention.

“In order to improve the situation, it’s clear that we all need to better understand the region’s complex and multifaceted issues which are closely connected with high poverty levels.

"By highlighting the link between deprivation and cancer rates, we hope to shine a light on how these two factors are intertwined and how they need to be tackled together if either is going to be solved.

"This clear correlation further showcases the necessity for the government’s pending health inequalities whitepaper to provide the crucial support that our most disadvantaged communities require."

READ: Denbighshire cancer patients urged to apply for support

The data collected by North West Cancer Research recorded certain cancers that impact women at a higher rate in North Wales.

This includes cervical cancer, with rates 43 per cent above the national average regionally and with Denbighshire in particular recording rates that are over double the national average.

Similarly, ovarian cancer rates are 16 per cent higher compared to Wales as a whole and rates of breast cancer, which is the second most common cancer in North Wales, are five per cent higher.

Mr Richards added: “The chance of developing cancer should have nothing to do with where a person lives.

"To make this statement a reality, we’re committed to supporting research projects and awareness campaigns that will break the link between someone’s postcode and their likelihood of a cancer diagnosis.

“We’ve invested more than £45 million in research projects in the last two decades alone, all of which has been aimed at finding new cures and improving care for anyone in North Wales and the North West of England coping with cancer.”

For more information about North West Cancer Research, visit