Focus needed on inequalities in early diagnosis of cancer

Scottish Green MSPs today (26 July) described new figures on cancer diagnosis as "extremely disappointing", urging ministers to "renew their focus".
The Detect Cancer Early Staging Data show that: 

-The target of increasing the proportion of people diagnosed at stage 1 of breast, colorectal or lung cancer by 25 per cent since 2010/11 has not been met. The increase has only been 8 per cent.

-Of patients in the most deprived areas, the highest proportion were diagnosed at the most advanced stage of disease, while of those in the least deprived areas, the highest proportion were diagnosed at the earliest stage.


Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

“These are extremely disappointing figures. The earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of survival.

“Scottish Ministers must renew their focus, not just on early diagnosis but on tackling the health inequalities shown by these figures. There is a clear link between screening rates and deprivation, and it seems not enough investment is going in to encourage people in less well-off communities to take part in screening programmes.

"Greens have long championed the idea of a Healthy Challenge Fund, giving communities with health challenges the resources to improve their situation. Ministers are clearly aware of the slow progress in early diagnosis, especially in deprived communities, and must consider new ideas to help reach out to people whose lives could be vastly improved by early diagnosis and treatment.

“GP surgeries are also under huge pressure and must have the resources to refer patients at the earliest opportunity.” 


Detect Cancer Early Staging Data (ISD Scotland)