Hearing how early diagnosis can beat cancer sooner

Iain Gray MSP met Cancer Research UK staff at the Scottish Labour party conference in Dundee last week, to learn about the charity’s priorities for beating cancer sooner in Scotland.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“Like everywhere in Scotland, cancer has a huge effect on families in East Lothian, so it has been fantastic to meet with the Cancer Research UK team to hear more about their priorities for diagnosing patients sooner in Scotland.”

Mr Gray heard about Cancer Research UK’s latest campaign, which urges the Scottish Government to address shortages in the diagnostic workforce in Scotland.

The earlier a cancer is diagnosed the more likely it is to be treated successfully. For some of the most common types of cancer, survival is more than three times likely higher when the disease is diagnosed at its earliest stages.

Yet statistics show that more than 18,000 patients in Scotland waited more than the target time of six weeks to receive a diagnostic test in the quarter ending 38 December 2018.*

The report also shows that, during the same quarter, only 78.1% of patients received the tests they needed within six weeks. The target is that no one should be waiting longer than six weeks for a test.

Gordon Matheson, Public Affairs Manager for Scotland at Cancer Research UK, said:

“The NHS is under continued strain with too many patients still waiting too long for tests, some of which could detect cancer. 

“With a welcome focus on screening and early detection of cancer, there’s an urgent need to comprehensively address workforce shortages.

“Much needed investment in this area is beginning to emerge and it’s vital we see a strong emphasis on making sure we have enough staff to meet increasing patient need, and that existing staff are being used to their best potential.”