Monica met Cancer Research UK staff in Dundee recently, to learn about the charity’s priorities for beating cancer sooner in Scotland.
Monica said: “Like everywhere in Scotland, cancer has a huge effect on families across Lanarkshire. My own mum was fortunate to have bowel cancer diagnosed at an early stage, and thanks to the care of the staff in NHS Lanarkshire, is now cancer free. It’s great that NHS Lanarkshire has such a high percentage of people who are being seen within the six week standard for diagnostic testing – but it’s important we keep raising awareness about the importance of early detection.
“If you have symptoms that are worrying you and feel something isn’t quite right, it’s important that people go to the doctor at the earliest opportunity. It was really useful to meet with the Cancer Research UK team to hear more about their priorities for diagnosing patients sooner in Scotland, including making sure that we have enough staff to deal with the need.”
Monica 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 31 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.”