Concern over Isles’ cancer detection

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Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has expressed concern over recent figures which show that NHS Western Isles has the lowest rate of detecting cancer early out of every health board in Scotland.

Figures for 2015/16 which were recently released by the NHS Information Services Division show that only 15.4% of patients with either breast, colorectal or lung cancer were diagnosed at stage one, 10.1% below the national average and 21.4% were diagnosed at stage 2, 4.6% below the national average.

The stage one detection figures are the lowest since such information was first published.

This is despite the Scottish Government launching their Detect Cancer Early programme in 2012 which set as its main objective to “increase the proportion of people with stage 1 disease at diagnosis”.

Donald Cameron MSP said: “I am deeply concerned by these figures given the increased emphasis over the last few years to ensure cancer is detected as early as possible.

These are the worst stage one and stage two detection figures since such records were first published in 2010/11 and this will naturally come as a massive worry to many people in the Western Isles.

Quite simply, early detection means earlier treatment, and a significantly higher likelihood of survival, so we need to do much more to ensure that these figures improve going ahead so that more people receive early diagnosis”.

This latest information follows an analysis from Macmillan Cancer Support reported earlier this year which revealed that a cancer survival gap is growing between people living in the most and least deprived parts of Scotland.

The charity called for better screening measures. The study found lower rates of screening uptake and lower rates of treatment in deprived communities.

NHS Western Isles said they are aware of the MSP’s concern and will issue a statement in due course.