The number of people living with a cancer diagnosis across Scotland has risen to nearly quarter of a million, new analysis suggests.

Cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support calculated the figure from national cancer registry data and estimated it was a 15% increase from 2015.

The charity predicted the number of people to have been diagnosed with cancer in Scotland will have risen to 300,000 by 2025. This would represent an increase of more than a third in a decade.

Ashley Smith, 30, had to stay in hospital for five days at a time when she was going through treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year.

The Glasgow mum said: “The nurses really try their best, but they don’t have any time. They’re great on the medical side. They would come in and do all the tests and checks and were always nice, but there were a few times I crumbled emotionally and no-one was around.

“I wouldn’t have thought about turning to them because they’re just so busy. I’m lucky that I have my family, but when you’re in hospital for a long time, there’s a lot of time spent alone.

“It would be good if the staff had more time to talk to patients and listen to how they’re feeling as it can be really hard being in hospital with all the racing thoughts and worries.”

Macmillan said the rising number of patients with a cancer diagnosis underlines the challenge facing cancer care in Scotland and called for action from the Scottish Government. Earlier this year, the Cancer Patient Experience Survey, found among those cancer patients who wanted it, 40% didn’t receive enough care and support from health or social services during treatment.

Around a third (34%) weren’t offered all the practical advice and support they needed to deal with the side effects of their treatment, while just over one in 10 (11%) found it difficult to contact their cancer nurse specialist.

Head of Macmillan in Scotland, Janice Preston, said: “The staff who work in the NHS and social care do some of the toughest jobs in the country. “They want to give people with cancer the care and support they deserve but they’re struggling under the weight of the ever-increasing numbers of people who need their help.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear from staff feel they’re failing cancer patients because they just don’t have enough time.

“It’s devastating when people with cancer tell us they didn’t ask for help they desperately need as they didn’t want to burden overworked staff.”

She added: “The Scottish Government has committed to publishing a workforce plan to tackle the issues in the system.

“We look forward to seeing a fullyfunded plan that sets out how it will ensure hard-working staff can give people with cancer the care they deserve now and in the future.”

Macmillan and the Scottish Government recently announced a joint £18 million project to provide cancer patients across the country with access to a support worker, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cancer care.

The charity said this would go a long way to helping people with cancer but stressed adequate numbers of medical and social care staff are “vital”.

Susan McBride, from Airdrie, regularly visits the hospital after being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.

The 55-year-old, who was diagnosed in 2015, said: “The nurses in the hospital look after all the patients fantastically but it’s easy to see how short-staffed they are.

“They do give you lots of care and attention but it must be so hard on them because they have so many other patients to look after.

“Quite often if I am feeling emotional or have questions to ask, or just want to talk, I don’t want to take up all the nurses time because I’d be taking the attention away from other patients.

“There’s a lot of pressure on staff, they definitely need help.”