Scottish Government
Printable version

More Scots detecting cancer early

Increase in stage one diagnoses. 

The number of cancers detected at the earliest possible stage, when it is easier to treat and there is a better chance of a survival, has risen in Scotland.

Figures released today by ISD Scotland show that 24.3 per cent of all breast, lung and bowel cancers in Scotland during 2012 and 2013 were detected at stage one - an increase of 4.7 per cent since 2010 and 2011.

The increase in early detection is against a backdrop of a continued increase in cancer cases across the country with around 30,000 people diagnosed with cancer in 2011.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said:

“Cancer is a word that most of us dread hearing and dealing with a cancer diagnoses can be both difficult and scary.

“However it can be treated and beaten when detected at an early stage. That’s why I welcome that more cancers in Scotland are being detected at the earliest stage possible.

“Our annual £10.8 million investment in cancer research has brought about huge advances in treatments that help extend and improve the quality of life. This is supported by our £12 million investment in state-of-the-art mammography equipment and the creation of a new £22 million Beatson Centre at Monklands Hospital.

“Of course these treatments are most effective when the cancer is detected early, before it has a chance to grow and spread.

“Only last month I announced an additional £2.5 million investment, on top of £9 million spent over the last three years, to help all health boards meet cancer waiting times by building diagnostic and treatment capacity.

"Our £30 million Detect Cancer Early programme has also resulted in a 50 per cent increase in the number of women consulting their GP with breast symptoms in the first three months of our Elaine C. Smith campaign, which was first advert in the UK to show real pictures of women’s breasts with visible signs of breast cancer.

"There has also been a 21% increase in the proportion of lung cancers diagnosed at stage one - this increase is mainly due to better data capture.

“However when it comes to cancer we will always fight for more because even more lives can be saved in Scotland through earlier detection. Health boards must continue to target specific communities to encourage more Scots to get checked early.”

The Detect Cancer Early programme is already raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast, bowel and lung cancer as well as encouraging more women to get checked early through the national breast screening programme.

Notes To Editors

  • Full access to the statistical publication is available here:
  • Direct impact of the public awareness campaigns and other components of the Detect Cancer Early programme are likely to be more apparent in the 2013/2014 data.
  • The breast cancer campaign was launched in September 2012, followed by the bowel screening campaign in February 2013 and lung cancer in November 2014.
Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
Scottish Government