Last week’s figures on the incidence of cancer in Scotland serve as a timely warning about the challenges that the NHS faces in supporting ever-increasing numbers of patients to access effective treatments that allow them to survive the disease.
It is alarming that the number of male patients being diagnosed with bowel cancer has had a significant rise, bucking a trend that has seen the incidence of other types of cancer in men fall.
To tackle bowel cancer more effectively across Scotland, we must have a better understanding of the stage at which patients are being diagnosed, so that care pathways can be adapted more effectively to individual needs.
Much more still needs to be done to ensure all bowel cancer patients who are diagnosed receive the highest quality services, improving their outcomes and experience along the way. This is especially important as larger numbers of patients undertake screening and begin to access treatments through NHS Scotland.
The Scottish Government needs to ensure that the data on incidence and mortality is more joined up so that patients and clinicians have a better idea of whether the increasing numbers of bowel cancer patients are getting the right treatment and ultimately surviving the disease.
Chief Executive, Beating Bowel Cancer