Tuesday 18 August 2015 at 10:30

Early Diagnosis Of Lung Cancer Increases In Scotland

The number of people in Scotland receiving a crucial early diagnosis of lung cancer has increased.

Statistics published today by ISD Scotland show that Stage 1 diagnoses of breast, lung and colorectal cancers have increased by 6.5 per cent since 2010 and 11. This means 24.7 per cent of cancer patients were diagnosed at this early stage in 2013 and 2014, greatly increasing the chances of successful treatment.

The £39m Detect Cancer Early programme has led to increased knowledge of cancer signs and symptoms. The recently launched wee c initiative will continue to support the overall aim of the Detect Cancer Early programme to increase survival rates from cancer.

In separate statistics published today, the number of people with cancer is projected to increase by 33.5 per cent by 2027, mainly due to the ageing population. The ISD report, excluding non-malignant skin cancers, projects that 204,064 people in Scotland will have cancer by 2023-27, an increase of 51,116 from the current 2008-12 period.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“It’s very encouraging to see that an increasing proportion of cancer patients are getting the early diagnoses that we know are so crucial. The earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. I would continue to urge people to take every screening opportunity available, and to report any worrying symptoms to their GP as soon as they can.

“Survival rates have also increased – 15,800 diagnosed this year will survive compared with 9,500 that would have survived 30 years ago. However, today’s projections for a continued increase in the number of people with cancer shows that we must keep up our efforts.

“Lifestyle changes have a big part to play. Drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking, exercising more and eating healthily all play a part in decreasing cancer risk.

“Due to our aging population we know more people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. This is why it is vital that we continue to work closely with the cancer community to ensure we have robust plans in place to shape cancer care well into the future.

“Working with stakeholder groups and patients over the rest of the year, we will continue to develop our plan to ensure that real improvements are made to services, based on the best possible evidence. These statistics just reinforce how important it is we get this plan right for the long term and avoid rushing to quick fixes which don’t embed the kind of lasting change we need to really meet the huge challenge our health service faces. We will look to have plans in place by the first half of 2016.

“A key component of this work is to ensure that we have the right information, at the right time to support improvements in local services. The Scottish Cancer Taskforce were fully supportive of the need to develop a cancer intelligence framework for NHS Scotland, and agreed that this is fundamental to improving cancer patient outcomes. This work is being led by the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme based at the Farr Institute and directed by Dr Aileen Keel, who also chairs the Scottish Cancer Taskforce. The intelligence framework will underpin the forthcoming cancer plan.

“We are also holding a national conversation about the future of our health and social care services. Projected increases in the number of people with cancer is exactly the kind of issue that we need to think about as we plan for the future. Everyone needs to come together to think about how we can improve the health of the population, and develop services that will help people to live well.”

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