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Neil hails rise in early cancer detection rates

More cancer patients are having their illness detected at the earliest possible stage, new figures show.

Official statistics show that 24.3% of all breast, lung and bowel cancers in Scotland in 2012 and 2013 were detected at "stage one", when the disease is easier to treat and there is generally a better chance of a survival.

The figure was up 4.7% on the combined period of 2010 and 2011.

It comes as cancer cases across the country continue to rise. In 2012, nearly 15,800 people died of the disease in Scotland and almost 30,500 people were diagnosed with cancer.

Lung, colorectal and breast cancers are the most common forms of the disease, accounting for 44% of all cancers diagnosed in Scotland in 2012.

The Scottish Government has welcomed the increase in early detection rates.

In February 2012 ministers launched the Detect Cancer Early (DCE) programme, which aims to increase the percentage of people who are diagnosed at stage one by 25% by the end of 2015.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "Cancer is a word that most of us dread hearing and dealing with a cancer diagnosis 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."

He pointed to multi-million pound investments in cancer research, state-of-the-art equipment and the creation of a new £22 million Beatson Centre at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

Mr Neil went on: "Our £30 million Detect Cancer Early programme has also resulted in a 50% 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 the 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."

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

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