Scotland cancer figures improving

In collaboration with the Press Association

Rates of cancer in Scotland are falling while more and more people are surviving the disease, new Scottish Executive figures have shown.

Earlier intervention through better screening was credited for a reduction in the cancer mortality rate in Scotland by 16 per cent over the last ten years.

The falls include some of the most lethal and widespread forms of the disease, which fell substantially over the ten years up to 2005.

Among men, lung, colorectal and prostate cancer mortality rates fell 25 per cent, 14 per cent and nine per cent respectively.

Among women, breast and colorectal cancer mortality rates fell 14 per cent and 24 per cent respectively, said Scottish health minister Andy Kerr.

"Tackling cancer has been one of our top priorities and it's a great credit to the work we are doing across the service that people are now less likely to contract the disease, and if they do, less likely to die from it.

"But our efforts must not stop here - we will go on tackling this disease."

The number of cancer patients being treated within two months of referral remains short of the 95 per cent target however, despite rising from 74 per cent to 79 per cent.

"Whilst significant investment is now beginning to show some results, we must do more to translate this into real benefits for patients."

"That's why boards must not let up, but instead build on this improvement and use the targeted measures we have put in place to drive on towards meeting the 95 per cent target."

The executive noted that on current trends the NHS in Scotland will achieve its target of cutting cancer by 20 per cent among the under-75s over the 15 years to 2010.