Scottish Government
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Cancer will affect two in five people

Two in five people in Scotland will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime, according to figures released today, but people are living longer after diagnosis.

Official statistics released by ISD Scotland also show that incidence rates of cancer in Scotland have increased by three per cent over the last ten years.

Although the number of new cancer cases has increased over the last ten years, other recent statistics show that the mortality rate has fallen by 12 per cent over the same period.

Incidence rates in males have fallen by three per cent, while they have risen by nine per cent in females between 2001 and 2011.

The figures also estimate that there are 165,000 individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer over the last 20 years in Scotland and who are still alive.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said:

“These figures show that more people in Scotland are getting cancer, however, it is important to note that while cases of cancer have risen, survival rates have increased, and this means more people are living longer after diagnosis.

“We are determined to do more to meet the challenge of rising cancer rates, including that posed by the ageing population.

“We know that more lives can be saved in Scotland through earlier detection, as the earlier a cancer is diagnosed the greater the chance it can be treated successfully.

“That is why we launched our Detect Cancer Early initiative last year, which aims to increase the early detection of cancer by 25 per cent and save more than 300 lives a year by the end of the next Parliamentary term. 

“People can also reduce their risk of getting cancer by leading a healthier lifestyle. Small changes such as stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, including fruit and vegetables, can help reduce the risk of cancer.”

Breast screening statistics out today show that breast screening uptake has remained fairly static, with 74.5 per cent of women being screened in 2009-12, compared with 74.9 per cent in 2008-11.

Place of death figures also released today show that between 2007-2011, half of cancer deaths occurred in NHS hospitals, a quarter were at home, and 18 per cent in hospices.

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