Scotland

Scottish cancer cases reach 'record high'

Cancer cell Image copyright SPL
Image caption An estimated 220,000 people are living with cancer in Scotland, according to Macmillan Cancer Support

The number of people with cancer in Scotland has risen by 18% in five years, according to new figures.

Macmillan Cancer Support estimated that 220,000 people living in Scotland have been diagnosed with cancer.

That is a record high and an increase of around 33,000 since 2010.

The charity is calling for a "complete transformation" of the way people are supported after their treatment ends to cope with long term impacts of the disease.

These can range from physical side effects like extreme fatigue to psychological problems.

'Big changes needed'

Macmillan said that around one in four people across the UK who has been diagnosed with cancer faces poor health or disability after treatment, while many also face significant emotional, financial and practical problems.

Image copyright SPL
Image caption A cancer diagnosis becomes more common in older years

Janice Preston, head of Macmillan in Scotland, said: "The current NHS system was not set up to deal with the needs of such a huge number of people who have survived cancer but who often continue to require considerable support.

"It is vital the Scottish government, NHS and social care services use the forthcoming integration of health and social care to recognise the scale of the challenge and commit to making the big changes needed to meet it."

The increase in people living with cancer is said to be largely due to improvements in survival and detection, and a growing and ageing population.

'Collateral damage'

Ms Preston told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland: "In general the rise is for very good reasons. There are more people living longer in general, the population is getting much older."

"In addition to that the treatments are much better so in general people are living much longer after their cancer, not everyone so that needs to improve, but in general people are living longer."

The Scottish government, Macmillan Cancer Support, NHS Scotland and local authorities are already working together to support a redesign of care following active treatment of cancer via the Transforming Care After Treatment programme.

Macmillan said lessons learned from this programme must be used to transform how patients are supported throughout Scotland.

Cancer patient, Nelson McFarlane told Radio Scotland medical treatment of the disease is just the beginning: "The collateral damage that is caused by cancer diagnosis is generally underestimated by people because there's all the issues of isolation and financial issues and just everyday family factors like childcare and so on, are all affected by cancer.

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