How we’re working to beat cancer

By , 11/08/17

Two out of every five people in Scotland will develop cancer in their lifetime. And our aging population means that more people are being diagnosed with cancer. Yet better treatment also now means that more people can be cured than ever before.

The SNP Scottish Government is investing in a new £100 million ten-year Cancer Plan to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of the disease. Here are just some of the ways we’re doing that.


Under the SNP, the cancer workforce in our NHS has gone up.


The number of consultant oncologists in Scotland has gone up by over 60 per cent under the SNP (between September 2006 and March 2017). And the number of cancer clinical nurse specialists has increased by over 30 per cent since 2009.


Investing £50 million in state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment


We’re committed to improving cancer services. We’ve already invested in the £22 million radiotherapy facility at Monklands Hospital, which was opened in 2015. Our new Cancer Strategy commits to investing £50 million in state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment, recruitment and training. That includes an additional 100 radiotherapy specialists.


Investing £41 million to catch cancer earlier


We have invested £41 million in the Detect Cancer Early programme - raising public awareness of cancer and diagnosing cancer earlier. Between 2010/2011 and 2015/2016 we’ve seen a 9.2 per cent increase in the diagnoses of breast, colorectal or lung cancer at the earliest stage (Stage 1). The increase was even higher in the most deprived areas, which saw a 17.4 per cent increase over the same period.


Cutting the risk of cervical cancer


We introduced the HPV vaccine for young women in 2008. Research suggests that this has contributed to a 90 per cent fall in the disease amongst Scottish women - cutting the risk of cervical cancer. And we will now include HPV checks in cervical cancer smear tests.


HPV contributes to 90 per cent of cervical cancers but also to the development of other types of cancer. That’s why we’ve now extended the vaccine to gay and bisexual men too.


Action to ensure that, by 2050, no-one should die from breast cancer


To prevent breast cancer, we have funded a £1 million scheme to offer women over 50 support to make lasting changes around physical activity, diet and weight.


Last year we also made available £450,000 to support Scottish-led breast cancer research through a joint partnership between the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office and the charity Breast Cancer Now.


Read more here about how we're working to make our NHS healthier still.

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