Statistics show Scotland has highest cancer rates in UK

In collaboration with the Press Association

Scotland has the highest rates of cancer in the UK, with new figures showing that Scots are around 15 per cent more likely to die from the disease.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there were 446 new cases of cancer per 100,000 men and 379 new cases per 100,000 women in Scotland between 2002 and 2004.

Corresponding rates for Wales reveal 450 new cases for men and 366 new cases for women, while England had 394 new cases in men and 338 in women.

Scotland also had the highest overall death rate for cancer in the UK, with 262 deaths per 100,000 men and 182 per 100,000 women compared with an average of 226 and 159 for the UK as a whole.

Ruth Yates, head of statistical information at Cancer Research UK, said: "While cancer incidence rates have been relatively stable in recent years, death rates have fallen. This drop is mainly driven by a decline in smoking rates alongside earlier detection and better treatment of cancers."

Lung cancer proved to be the main cause of cancer deaths for both men and women, with 75 deaths per 100,000 Scottish men and 44 per 100,000 women.

Ms Yates revealed that smoking is more common north of the border and that much of the difference in cancer rates between England and Scotland can be attributed to this trend.

"Smoking causes around 90 per cent of lung cancer cases, and is linked to a range of other forms of cancer, including oesophagus, mouth and larynx," she explained.

"It is worth noting that rates of lung cancer in Scotland have fallen in recent years at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world," Ms Yates continued.

"Raising awareness of the avoidable risks of cancer, such as smoking, has and will continue to help people reduce their risk of developing the disease. We hope that the smokefree laws recently introduced across the UK will help to further drive down smoking rates."

The three most prevalent types of cancer among men were prostate, lung and bowel, while breast, lung and bowel cancers were the most common forms of the disease in women.