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Cancer death rate continues to fall

Published: 17 Nov 2015 10:41
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Cancer mortality rate drops by 11% over past 10 years.

Cancer death rates have dropped by 11 per cent over the past 10 years, figures published today show.

Today's figures, published by ISD Scotland, analyse cancer mortality data between 1989 and 2014. The overall cancer mortality rate in 2014 is the lowest in that time period, as are rates for cancer of the breast, lung, stomach and colorectal cancer.

The figures show a six per cent decrease in cancer deaths amongst women, compared to a fifteen per cent drop in deaths among men.

For women, the largest decreases in mortality rates were stomach, breast and ovarian cancer. Deaths due to breast cancer, which is the most common cancer diagnosed amongst women, have dropped by 20 per cent over the past 10 years to 2014.

For men, the largest decreases in cancer deaths were in stomach, colorectal and lung cancer. Mortality rates from prostate cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, have decreased by 10.3 per cent over the past 10 years.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"These are very welcomed figures, showing that the rate of cancer deaths continues to fall.

"This reduction is due to improvements in early detection, through raised awareness and routine screening as well as the development of more specialist care and effective treatments.

"Of course there is more work to be done and we recognise that there is variation in mortality rates between males and females and certain tumour types.

"One of the keys to improving cancer mortality rates is early diagnosis, and that is why we have invested £39 million in our Detect Cancer Early programme. The main aim of the programme is to encourage all people, regardless of their personal circumstances, who have any unusual or persistent changes to their body, to visit their GP.

"The programme has resulted in a 4.7 per cent increase in early stage diagnosis alongside a 50 per cent increase in women consulting their GP with breast symptoms and increased uptake of the national bowel screening programme.

"The number of patients diagnosed with lung cancer at the earliest stage has also increased by 24.7 per cent since the launch of the programme.

"In addition, the Government's revised referral guidelines assist GPs in spotting symptoms of cancer and ensuring that patients who require urgent attention are quickly assessed by a specialist.

"We will continue to invest in advanced treatment techniques to provide Scottish patients with access to the best treatments possible.

"Research is also very important, and today we are announcing co-funding of £500,000 to support pancreatic cancer research in Scotland. This is in partnership with the Scottish Government's Chief Scientist Office, Pancreatic Cancer Scotland and Pancreatic Cancer UK

"In addition, our new draft Cancer Plan, due to be published in early 2016, will provide us with an opportunity to look at a range of areas to continue to improve services and outcomes."

Notes to editors

Figures published by ISD Scotland cover the period 1989 to 2014 and are available here: