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Cancer Statistics in Scotland

Every year, about 30,000 people in Scotland are told they have cancer and trends predict that the number is likely to rise to almost 35,000 in 2016-2020.

The total number of people diagnosed with the disease is increasing year on year, largely due to the increasing number of elderly people in the population and the fact that life expectancy is increasing.

Over the last twenty years, almost all cancers have shown improvement in survival five years after diagnosis and survival from cancer in Scotland is similar to that in England and Wales.

In the last decade, overall cancer mortality rates have decreased.

Improving cancer treatment, diagnosis and survival

Cancer remains a national clinical priority for the Scottish Government and NHSScotland and Better Cancer Care to set out a series of actions and key priorities that would make a real difference to cancer services and support provided in Scotland.

Progress made in delivering the commitments set out in Better Cancer Care was published in Better Cancer Care Progress Report 2010:

The report highlights the achievements made in improving cancer services, and identified a number of areas where further work was needed. These areas are set out in the Scottish Cancer Taskforce's workplan.

Further information and national developments

  • Quality Performance Indicators (QPI’s) are currently being developed for various cancer types. These will be monitored by the National Cancer Quality Steering Group, a sub group of the Scottish Cancer Taskforce. Further information on this group's work is available on the National Cancer Quality Steering Group pages:
  1. National Cancer Quality Steering Group 
  2. Scottish Cancer Taskforce 
  • Cancer Plan for Children and Young People: Sets out how a how a safe and sustainable service will be delivered, and includes a commitment to develop services appropriate to the needs of teenagers and young adults up to age 25.
  • Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT): A partnership programme between the Scottish Government, NHSScotland and local authorities. The programme supports the redesign of care following active treatment of cancer.