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Ageing population blamed for rising cancer rates

This news post is about 7 years old

​As we live longer many more instances of cancer are being diagnosed warns leading charity

More than 90 people each day in Scotland will be diagnosed with cancer by the end of 2016 – one person every 15 minutes.

Macmillan Cancer Support says cancer diagnosis has increased 18% since 1996, despite research, technology and treatment into the disease extending life expectancy each year.

The rise is being attributed to an ageing population and while there are currently 190,000 people living with cancer in Scotland,that number is expected to double by 2030.

Figures were published by Macmillan as the charity called for the Scottish Government to put in place a long term plan to cope with the increasing number of people being diagnosed with and surviving cancer.

Janice Preston, head of Macmillan in Scotland, said while the NHS is already under real pressure trying to cope with the number of people living with cancer, waiting times targets are being missed.

The charity wants cancer treatment to be a cross-party issue ahead of next year's election.

It is vitally important that we transform the way we deliver cancer care - Janice Preston

She added: “Many patients tell us that while their medical treatment was good, often no-one tells them where to find support coping with the emotional, financial and practical problems cancer can cause.

"It is vitally important that we transform the way we deliver cancer care to make sure our system can meet the needs of the huge numbers of people who will be diagnosed with the illness in the future.

"This means not only ensuring they get the best possible medical care, but that their emotional, practical and financial needs are also met."

Eluned Hughes at Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: “Macmillan is right that cancer must become a cross-party priority ahead of next year’s election. Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK and, with incidence set only to rise, it is incredibly important that those facing or living with a diagnosis receive the best possible treatment.

“While breast cancer survival rates in the UK are improving, there is still a great deal of work to be done to bring them in line with the best in Europe.

“Prevention and early diagnosis are crucial in improving survival rates, but we will only see improvements in these areas with commitment from the government to keep cancer at the top of the health agenda.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Scotland is committed to leading the way on cancer. Our £30 million Detect Cancer Early programme has resulted in a 4.7% increase in earlier stage diagnosis, and death rates from cancer in Scotland have fallen by 11.4% over the last 10 years.

"We closely monitor health board performance and where performance issues are identified, support teams have been deployed to help boards reduce waiting times, as well as facilitating and sharing best practice among the country's health boards.

"This decisive action, coupled with a £2.5m investment in June to build diagnostic and treatment capacity, is now starting to show real improvements."



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