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Helping bring cancer down to size

Published: 4 Feb 2016 09:03

World Cancer Day – Scotland’s drive to turn the Big C into the ‘wee c’.

On World Cancer Day, Health Secretary Shona Robison welcomes the strides taken in Scotland to bring cancer down to size since the launch of the 'wee c' initiative six months ago.

The wee c, launched by the Scottish Government, in partnership with Cancer Research UK, aims to change the way cancer is viewed in Scotland, in a bid to reduce fear around the disease and boost survival rates.

Thanks to earlier detection, research breakthroughs and treatment advances, more people are surviving than ever before. It's hoped that more people will present with potential signs and symptoms sooner rather than later, and attend screening when invited as they learn that cancer isn't what it used to be.

Ms Robison said:

"Thanks to innovation and investment, there are around 176,000 people in Scotland who have been diagnosed with cancer over the last 20 years and who are still alive – over double the population of Inverness.

"Reframing the way cancer is viewed goes hand-in-hand with boosting survival rates and everyone can play a part. If we can raise awareness of what is being done to tackle cancer, we'll hopefully, in time, be able to address the fear people have in seeing their GP or attending their screening appointment. The earlier you come forward to get checked or screened, the better, it could save your life.

"We will also shortly be publishing our cancer strategy which will set out a range of deliverables to improve cancer outcomes in Scotland over the next five to 10 years. It will include targeted action in prevention, earlier detection and diagnosis, treatment, research, workforce and informatics to support improvements in patient outcomes. Based on evidence of what we know needs to be done it will set out a new vision for cancer care in Scotland putting people at the centre of decision making."

Since August, a number of positive developments have been made across Scotland, including:

- The opening of the £22 million Lanarkshire Beatson, Scotland's newest radiotherapy satellite centre, in November 2015

- Investment secured to bring Scotland's first Robotic-Assisted Surgical System to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, which will initially be used to treat prostate cancer

- £450,000 of funding committed by the Scottish Government and Breast Cancer Now to support Scottish-led breast cancer research in January 2016

- Eight new project awards and fellowships across Scotland supported by Cancer Research UK to enable ground-breaking research into a wide range of cancer types and treatments

- Latest statistics showing half a million people in Scotland are returning their bowel screening test every year – the most ever - with 52.2% uptake in NHS Lanarkshire amongst those eligible1

- Forming of the National Cancer Clinical Services Group, to drive improvements in cancer care

- The Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP) established to improve outcomes through enhanced cancer intelligence for clinicians and patients

Scotland's Cancer Strategy, and results from the country's first Cancer Patient Experience survey, will be published this year.

References:

1 http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/2015-08-04/2015-08-04-Bowel-Screening-Report.pdf?

2 All malignant neoplasms excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (ICD-10 C00-C96 exc. C44). Based on the survival (%) of people diagnosed with cancer in Scotland between 1987 – 1991 and the survival (%) of people diagnosed with cancer in Scotland between 2007 - 2011.