Scotland

Scottish Parliament

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest charity dedicated to saving lives through research. We invest over £38 million every year in Scotland.

Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer. While notable progress has been made in improving survival rates, the incidence of cancer continues to grow. There are also major and persistent health inequalities in Scotland, with people from less well-off communities, for example, typically presenting later for treatment and dying earlier.

1 in 2 of us will be diagnosed with cancer during our lifetime. Therefore, cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care must remain a top priority for our government and health service.

Health is a devolved matter in Scotland. This means decisions about health policy are made by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament. That is why we work closely alongside the Scottish Government and the 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), advising on cancer and research issues and campaigning for prevention measures and early detection services.

Our supporters in Scotland raised over £24 million pounds last year and we work to make the voice of people affected cancer patients heard in the Scottish Parliament and Government and beat cancer in Scotland.

In Scotland Cancer Research UK has:

  • Campaigned for and helped shape the 2016-21 cancer strategy that commits £100 million across 54 actions to improve cancer care in Scotland. We also led an inquiry through the Scottish Parliament cross-party group on cancer, into the strategy’s progress.
  • Raised the obesity crisis to the top of political agenda in Scotland, increasing public awareness of the link between being overweight or obese and cancer. We secured cross-party support for legislation to restrict multi-buy price promotions on items high in fat, sugar and salt. In September 2019, the Scottish Government announced its intention to bring forward a bill to restrict price promotions within this Parliament.
  • Played a key role in the introduction of the simpler and more effective FIT test into the bowel screening programme in 2017, leading to a marked increase in participation rates.
  • Influenced the work ensuring that patients have access to modern radiotherapy across Scotland.

Overweight and obesity is linked to 13 types of cancer. It is the single biggest cause of preventable cancer in Scotland after smoking and is a major public health crisis.

Scotland is the heaviest of any of the UK nations and among the heaviest of any OECD nations. More than 28% of Scottish children and 65% Scottish adults are either overweight or obese.

In 2018, the Scottish Government published the diet and healthy weight strategy and we are working with them to ensure that all the actions are implemented and effectively monitored and evaluated.

Thanks to the campaigning of Cancer Research UK and our partners, the Scottish Government committed to introducing legislation regulate the use of multi buy price promotions on foods high in fat, sugar and salt.

In Scotland, 36% of calories bought into the home were bought on promotions and 86% of people feel encouraged at some point to buy more unhealthy food than they would if it was at full price due to multibuys.

Almost two-thirds of Scots said that they support restricting price promotions. Support for these measures are even higher amongst parents, with 69% showing support for restrictions.

We are committed to working with the Scottish Government and MSPs of all parties to ensure that this Bill helps to prevent cancer across Scotland.

The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be treated successfully. Diagnosing cancer involves a range of tests and specialist staff. With increasing prevalence of cancer among the population and a welcome emphasis on early detection, diagnostic services are struggling to cope.

That is why we are calling on the Scottish Government to act to address workforce shortages:

In the short term, the Scottish Government must address shortages of staff across radiology, radiography, pathology and endoscopy.

In the medium and longer-term, the Scottish Government and NHS Education Scotland needs to take a strategic approach to workforce planning, requiring:

  1. an audit of diagnostic workforce numbers to gauge the gap between current patient need and service capacity in endoscopy, diagnostic radiography, clinical radiology and cellular pathology.
  2. NHS Education for Scotland projecting the numbers and type of diagnostic staff that will be required over the next 10-15 years to meet growing patient need.
  3. based on the audit and future projections, the adoption of a robust national workforce plan and support for NHS Scotland’s Health Boards to produce clear, detailed proposals for growing the diagnostic workforce.

Scotland is home to world-class medical research, and we would like to see this expand. We have conducted a study to analyse the state of the medical research environment in Scotland identifying key policy actions we would like implemented:

  • The Scottish Funding Council should engage with the universities ahead of the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2021 and review how previous changes have impacted medical research in Scotland’s leading Universities.
  • The Chief Scientists Office should review the portfolio of clinical research funding available in Scotland, including access to NIHR funding and whether this can be expanded. The research community should be consulted to ensure no gaps exist.
  • The Scottish Government and Scotland’s funding bodies should urgently quantify the impact of the potential loss of EU funds as the UK leaves the EU and seek funding sources to mitigate against this loss.
  • NHS Scotland should ensure that health service staff have sufficient time to participate in research

Campaign For Change Right Now

Campaigns Ambassadors play a critical role in our mission to beat cancer sooner. They save lives by persuading politicians to support cancer research, prevention, early diagnosis and access to treatments.

You can be part of a determined group that have made significant changes to the Scotland’s health and we won’t stop there.

Our successes have included:

  • Ending smoking in enclosed work and public places.
  • Securing the introduction of plain tobacco packing
  • Campaigned for the 2016-21 cancer strategy that committed £100 million to improve cancer care in Scotland

This is a flexible, home-based volunteering role, which can fit around your current commitments.

Become an Ambassador today

Share Your Story

Media volunteers are at the heart of helping Cancer Research UK raise awareness of our work in Scotland. By sharing personal experiences, our volunteers also inspire others to support us.

If you have a cancer experience and would feel comfortable with details appearing in a newspaper, online, radio, TV, magazines or on social media then we’d be grateful if you could complete our Share Your Story form

Everyone’s story is important. By becoming a media volunteer, you can:

  • help highlight the experiences of real people affected by cancer.
  • raise awareness of symptoms and help with cancer prevention.
  • give inspiration and hope to other people affected by cancer.
  • inspire others to fundraise for Cancer Research UK.

Once you have filled out the form, your details will be stored on a secure database. We won’t share any of your details without your permission and a member of experienced staff will contact you directly if a suitable media opportunity arises.

Last reviewed

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 3.5 out of 5 based on 22 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think