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Topic: An Urban Health Profile report on the prevalence of Prostate Cancer in Peckham Ward/Neighbourhood.
Aim: To find the prevalence of Prostate cancer and the causes in Peckham Ward/Neighbourhood.
In this report, there will be a brief overview of Urbanisation, the advantage and urban penalty of the urban city, thereafter shift attention to Peckham Neighbourhood, and Peckham Ward profile, the demographic factors, and urban health issues, in particular, the prevalence of Prostate Cancer. There shall also be a presentation of the physical observation studies carried out with photographic evidence and then give a recommendation and draw a conclusion on the subject matter. All the work shall be supported by relevant citations from scholarly written and Journal articles for each section of this report.
United Nations estimates that 54% of the world lived in urban areas in 2016 (UN World Urbanisation Prospect, 2018). In 2017, 4.1 billion people were living in urban areas and it is projected that by 2050, 68% of the world population would be urbanized (UN World Urbanization Prospects 2018)
Urbanisation can be defined as a process of growth and expansion in terms of population, spatial coverage, and economic activities due to net migration and natural growth (death and birth rate), (United Nations, 2011; UN Habitat, 2004).
Whereas urbanisation characterized in terms of urban population growth, which has been compelled by economic development, is also driven by poverty. As more people are attracted to the cities in search of jobs, education, better health services, public transport, and other infrastructures expected to produce “Urban advantages” (Allebeck, 2008; Vlahov et al., 2007; cited in Caiaffa et al., 2008) can also cause social, economic and environmental damages of the great impact that can affect the health of individuals in the neighbourhood that is difficult to measure. Population density can contribute to the spread of communicable disease and ill health to residents due to overcrowding, Crime, drugs, Pollution (air, noise), and other social problems known as ‘Urban penalty’ (Vlahov, Galea and Freudenberg, 2005; Baker et al 2012: 25)
In the twenty-first century, urbanization is a major public health challenge as recognized by WHO therefore effort should involve government, international organizations, business, and civil society to put health at the heart of urban policy (Urban HEART: Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool, 2010) to reduce urban health inequities (Hidden Cities: Unmasking and Overcoming Health Inequities in Urban Settings 2010).
Cities need quality intelligence on public health status in combination with spatial, sociodemographic, and environmental information, according to Caiaffa; Friche, Dias, et al. (2013). Sustainable local-level health and health equity monitoring systems are important for directing local interventions, allocating resources and planning decisions (Vlahov et al. 2011, WHO 2008).
However, the fact is that, internationally, the ability to define intra-urban health is not well established. Neighbourhood-level research not only suffers from limited availability, precision and completeness of data, but also from the lack of an institutional framework at that level to collect and analyse health-relevant data to produce valuable policy-making intelligence.
Linking urbanization and the associated urban health issues to the neighbourhood areas of this study, (Peckham Ward), Peckham form an inner-city neighbourhood in South London with a densely built-up townscape. In the 18th century, it grew from a rural hamlet to a metropolitan satellite and resort area. As shopping centre and business activities spring up, Central Peckham has become the key economic emphasis since the late-19th century.
Peckham Neighbourhood is located in East-Central Southwark made up of Peckham, Peckham Rye, Nunhead and Queens Road (SJSNA, 2019) ‘Multi-Ward Profiles’
SJSNA 2019 Multi-Ward Profiles East Central Southwark
Geographically, ‘Peckham’ denotes a large and diverse area in the inner-London borough of Southwark. The historic settlement grew up around Peckham High Street, Peckham Hill Street, and Rye Lane which still form its main road network. It is an area that suffers from social problems and economic deprivation (Peckham Herotage.org.uk, 2018), which in the 1960s had obtained the reputation of a neglected, poor, and violent neighbourhood as well as an ethnically diverse area (Hall, 2015), it is now a culturally mixed place with a diverse built environment. Peckham is now densely populated with heavy traffic and air pollution.
In 2017/2018 there were over 3,700 Emergency Department attendances (Multi-Ward Profiles 2019) in East Central Southwark, the rate of emergency admission for the children is greater than London average. This is as a result of accidents and air pollution breathe in due to heavy traffic congestion.
Heavy traffic in Peckham high street: Picture taken by the Author.
Diesel is highly polluting, emitting far greater amounts of dangerous nitrogen dioxide and tiny pollution particles than petrol, and can cause cancer to heart attacks. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, had previously labelled diesel exhausts as probably carcinogenic to humans (The Guardian 2016) ‘Breathe less … or ban cars’. The carcinogenic consequence of air pollution aggravate cases of prostate cancer (The Prostate Cancer Foundation, 2020)
The incidence of Coronary Heart Diseases CHD, Stroke and COPD in Peckham is worse than Southwark and England average.
There were 679 new cancer cases in Southwark in 2014-16, equating to around 230 per year, up from 459 new cases in 2001-03 (JSNA, 2019) ‘Cancer in Southwark’
Cancer incidence in Peckham is highest by 10%, above levels seen in Southwark, and England comparatively.
Peckham Ward has 38% higher incidence for prostate cancer making it significantly higher compared to England average (Southwark Ward Profiles. Southwark Council: London, 2017)
Peckham has a 50% higher incidence for prostate cancer than England making its prostate cancer incidence significantly higher compared to England
The prevalence of prostate cancer among the white, black and Asian populations locally in 2014-16 was 50%, 36% and 1.3% of total cancer cases, respectively.
Apart from well-known but non-modifiable risk factors of increased age, black ethnicity and affirmative family history as determinants of prostate cancer, it is still poorly understood (Batty, Kivimaki et al. 2011). However it is argued that marital status, blood cholesterol, and height were risk indices for death from prostate cancer (Batty, Kivimaki et al. 2011).
It is well researched that in black men, the risk of prostate cancer is greater than in white men worldwide. Recent findings indicate that they are predisposed to this disease by a variety of genetic mutations in black men; thus, race and environmental factors such as air pollution, socioeconomic status, diet, migration, and hard labour are thought to be the deciding factors and influence the incidence rate (Ben-Shlomo et al, 2008).
There are a number of other risk factors, such as one’s racial background, geographical location, family history, age, and inequality in access to healthcare. It is argued that other factors, like smoking, obesogenic environmental factors (living in proximity of junk food vendors) that induce junk food consumption that leads to obesity, and consumption of too much calcium, seem to factor into more aggressive cases of prostate cancer (The Prostate Cancer Foundation, 2020).
In order to tackle the Social Economic factors, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (2015), and Habitat III (2016) advocate on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito Ecuador” conference. The Third International Conference on Financing for Development (2015), advocate to incorporate key tools to advance the health of people in cities, including resource mobilization for capacity building, applied research, and strengthening governance for urban health.
Peckham has a population of 15,010, (ONS 2016), the ages are grouped as shown in the chart above while the life expectancy are shown in the chart below.
Southwark is a diverse borough with people from a wide range of ethnicities and
Backgrounds (NOMIS, 2016).
Local Deprivation Rank (Out of 23)
Ranked 40 out of 326 local authorities (high) ‘Multi-Ward Profiles 2019 East-Central Southwark’ Peckham.
84% of the population in Peckham are in the most deprived quintile nationally
In terms of deprivation, Peckham is worse hit (JSNA, 2017) Peckham Ward Profile
For a full update please click the Link below.
Public Health Outcomes Framework-Southwark Profile 2019
Available at: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/public-health-outcomes-framework/data#page/0/gid/1000049/pat/10105/par/cat-105-3/ati/302/are/E09000028/cid/4/tbm/1/page-options/ovw-do-0 (Accessed 15/12/2020)
Peckham Ward/Neighbourhood Fieldwork (Physical Observation)
Amid 2007/8 and 2016, house prices in Peckham improved by 53.2%, creating one of the top ten postcodes for house price growth in London since 2008 (Business Insider, 2017). This explosion in prices is related to Peckham having become an alluring location for young professionals and first-time property buyers, pushed by London’s super-heated housing market and attracted to the area by its changing image, growing leisure economy, available housing stock, as well as the arrival of the London Overground in 2012 (Business Insider, 2017, Jackson and Benson, 2014). , which have resulted in over crowdedness and the spread of diseases. For example Cov-19 is highest in East Central multi ward area.
The economic, physical, and socio-cultural structure of the town centre of Peckham has been and will be experiencing dramatic changes in the coming years through the emergence of new art and culture venues, cafes and restaurants, real estate agents, small businesses and chain retailers, as well as high-end housing, especially in large ‘opportunity’ sites of dedicated growth.
I took a walk to Burgess Park on 29/11/2020, starting from Albany Road from the junction of Camberwell road towards East Street down to Old Kent Road
Burgess Park is a public park situated in the London Borough of Southwark, in an area between Camberwell to the west, Walworth to the north, Bermondsey to the east, and Peckham to the south. At 56 hectares (140 acres), it is one of the largest parks in South London. It provides leisure for many activities such as jogging, children’s playground, cycling, physical exercise, and relaxation for family barbecues and fresh air.
Burgess Park
Burgess Park
Moving away from Burgess Park I trekked through Peckham Hill street towards Peckham High Street to visit Peckham Library and Peckham Pulse Leisure Centre. The Library serves the neighbourhood in terms of education and informed knowledge of any subject matters both students and businessmen alike. The pulse is a recreational centre for activities such as swimming, gymnasium, and other physical activities for the neighbourhood for their well-being.
Peckham Library: Picture taken by James
Picture of Peckham Pulse Leisure Centre.
Rye Lane and Peckham Rye is the major shopping areas lined with different clothing shops, food vendors and take away shops run by the locals both Africans and Asians.
Aylsham Centre Rye Lane: Picture by James
Just behind Rye Lane, underneath Peckham Rye station are arches packed with artisans, including Blenheim Forge blacksmith which handcrafts London’ smartest kitchen knives. Just behind Morrison shopping centre is Peckham bus garage that form the network of transport services.
To raise national awareness of prostate cancer in the African-Caribbean community and implement early Diagnosis and early screening initiative.
Department of Health and Cancer Research UK should provide a vehicle for a better outcome particularly for those at higher risk of prostate cancer.
Since the City leaders have significant influence over the social determinants of health, elected mayors and other city leaders should use their soft powers and the willingness to invest their own political capital to advocate for change to drive pro-health policies (KingsFund, 2018) ‘The role of cities in improving population health’.
Empowering communities, is a program initiated by Southward Council for the Councillors to engage the community in their wards for empowerment.
Organise Park Rangers to police the parks for safety for fear of crime against the prospective users.
Peckham is a typical Urban city that has attracted more people in search of jobs, education, better health services, public transport, and other infrastructures expected to produce “Urban advantages” (Allebeck, 2008; Vlahov et al., 2007; cited in Caiaffa et al., 2008). It has also caused social, economic, and environmental damages of the great impact that has affected the health of individuals in the neighbourhood e.g. Prostate Cancer, COPD, and Stroke.

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