Cancer death rates have dropped by 11% over the past 10 years, figures published this week show.


These figures, published by ISD Scotland, analyse cancer mortality data between 1989 and 2014. The overall cancer mortality rate in 2014 is the lowest in that time period, as are rates for cancer of the breast, lung, stomach and colorectal cancer.


The figures show a 6% decrease in cancer deaths amongst women, compared to a 15% drop in deaths among men. Deaths due to breast cancer, which is the most common cancer diagnosed amongst women, have dropped by 20% over the past 10 years to 2014. Mortality rates from prostate cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, have decreased by 10.3% over the past 10 years.


Commenting, Health and Sport Committee member Dennis Robertson MSP said:


“It is welcome news that the rate of cancer deaths is continuing to fall.


“Although there is, of course, more work to be done, these statistics demonstrate that early detection, awareness campaigns, routine screenings, and developments in effective treatments are having a positive impact.


“The Scottish Government recognises that early diagnosis and research are instrumental to improving cancer mortality rates and that it is why it has developed several programmes to continue this promising trend.


“The Scottish Government invested £39 million in the Detect Cancer Early Programme which is designed to encourage all people who have any changes to their body to visit their GP. The programme has resulted in a 4.7% increase in early stage diagnosis alongside a 50% increase in women consulting their GP with breast symptoms and increased uptake of the national bowel screening programme.


“In addition, the Government’s revised referral guidelines assist GPs in spotting symptoms of cancer and ensuring that patients who require urgent attention are quickly assessed by a specialist. The Scottish Government has said that it will continue to invest in advanced treatment techniques to provide Scottish patients with access to the best treatments possible.


“Furthermore, the Scottish Government just recently announced a co-funded £500,000 project to support pancreatic cancer research in Scotland. This would be in partnership with the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office, Pancreatic Cancer Scotland and Pancreatic Cancer UK.


“As the Government’s new Cancer Plan is underway, due to be published in early 2016, we will be looking into various strategies to continue the improvement in services and outcomes for a wide range of areas. “


Notes to Editors


Figures published by ISD Scotland cover the period 1989 to 2014 and are available here:


SG Communications