Yorkshire is the third worst county in England for cancer rates, claims a charity which has set a target of saving 2,000 lives a year from the disease.
Yorkshire Cancer Research unveiled a campaign in Leeds city centre today (Wednesday) to raise awareness of the statistics, which see 583 people in the region diagnosed each week and survival rates for the most common of cancers below the national average.
A floral display was set up in at Victoria Gardens on The Headrow with 2,000 white roses to represent each of the lives it hopes to save each year by 2025.
Dr Kathryn Scott, chief executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Yorkshire Cancer Research is absolutely committed to having the biggest possible impact on cancer in our region. While our goal might sound ambitious, we are fully confident we will achieve it by tackling five key areas.”
They are to raise awareness of how to reduce the risk of cancer, increase take-up of screening programmes, increase early diagnosis, improve treatment in Yorkshire and support and fund access to clinical trials.
It is expected the organisation will need to invest £10m each year into research and community health programmes to reach the target, on top of the £40m it has invested to date, and a summer of fundraising activities will be launched on August 1 - Yorkshire Day.
The reasons why Yorkshire performs badly compared to other areas are "complex" added Dr Scott but can be attributed to lifestyles and poor take up of cancer screening checks.
She added: "Yorkshire is the third worse in the UK for cancer and the reasons behind that are complex, but, we know that some of them are that there are quite high smoking rates in some parts of the county - Hull has the highest adult population of smokers in England and that brings with it a whole host of cancer problems.
"We have got patches in Yorkshire of really low screening rates so we are not detecting pre or early cancer as soon as we could be and some of it is education, awareness and the practicality of appointments."
Yorkshire Cancer Research is also tackling lung cancer in Leeds by funding a multi-million pound screening trial which is testing how lung screening can be introduced in Yorkshire and also the rest of the country.
Over the next four years, 7,000 people across Leeds who smoke or used to will receive an x-ray type scan that can detect early signs of the disease. It is estimated that around 400 cases will be detected.